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Ah, the emotional highs and lows of the paycheck cycle.
Friday or the end of the month hits, and you’re riding high: money is flowing into your account, you can settle all your bills and maybe even go out with friends to celebrate. But just a few short weeks (or even days) later, you’ve hit a low – both emotionally and in your checking account.
Somehow, there just never seems to be enough money. Something always comes up and the money dries out. And you just can’t figure out how to handle it. You have dreams with your money: traveling buying a new car or even making a dent in your student loans – but you can’t seem to even make it to the next pay day without watching your account balance dip dangerously low.
So you do the only thing that seems like the proper way to fix the situation: you create a budget. A budget that you will stick to no matter what (you tell yourself). Except it doesn’t work. Because budgets, mostly, never work. They’re impossible to monitor and inflexible to accommodate real life.
So just know that it’s not you, it’s your budget. And there are a few things to consider to help make budgeting a realistic, everyday part of your life and stick to a system that works:
Automate Your Budgeting Systems
It’s easy to think that you’ll enter every little penny you spent into your budget spreadsheet, and it’s a different story when you’re trying to remember how much you spent at the bar last night. Using an online budgeting software that automatically syncs to your bank accounts can take the guess work out of what you’re spending and where – just don’t forget to keep track of your cash!
Life happens. Birthdays, flat tires and even impulse shopping… and the unexpected tends to cost money. A flexible budget means that you know what your normal bills are, you’re realistic about your habits and you leave room for your mistakes.
Decide on Your Financial Priorities
If you really want to dig your way out of debt but you’re having trouble giving up your nights out on the weekends, you may have conflicting financial priorities. The beauty about money is that you can do with it what you want – you just can’t do everything you want. Pick out your three major priorities in life (like crushing your loans, staying healthy and maintaining your hair). Focus your disposable income on what really matters to you and trim back ruthlessly on the rest.
Focus on Both Sides of the Budget Equation
There are two sides of the budget equation: money coming in and money going out. You can cut back on the money going out all you want, but you’re only going to be able to cut back so far. If you’re really looking for ways to make your budget work and afford the life that you want, be sure to pay attention to your income and ways you can increase it, either by working on the side, asking for a raise or taking on more hours at work.
Know of any other tips? Share them with the readers below!
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