Adulting: My Budget Goals For This Year

Live Like No One Else, So That You Can Live Like No One Else

-Dave Ramsey

It has taken me 37 years to finally be open and honest with myself when it comes to my finances. I don’t think I have ever known how to effectively handle my money, part of that is because I was never taught. I didn’t really learn how to count money until I was in middle school. Horrible. In elementary school, the adored Butter Crunch Cookies were .45 a pack. I would count out five quarters, “25, 30, 35, 40, 45”. Essentially I got beat for $1.25 pretty much everyday. The lunch lady never corrected me. Damn Baltimore City Public Schools!

Any who…..

As I get older, I’m concerned that my poor financial habits will result in nothing to hand down to my children. Not only will they inherit debt, but they will also inherit poor financial habits as well, and the cycle will continue.

I can’t have that! I’ve set goals for myself this year and I plan to stick to them with the same vigor as if Id won ten million dollars and could spend on whatever my heart imagined. Budgeting, Saving Money and Attacking Debt is no longer what I WANT to do, it’s what I HAVE to do.

Using the following guideline, I plan to save money and get on the right track, and you can too!

1. Pay Yourself

Every time you get paid, put away a certain amount of money into your savings account. Even if it’s something small, it’s better than nothing, and you can watch your savings grow over time.

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2. Make Your Own Coffee/Tea

What seems so simple is probably the hardest of all! Skip those Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnut lines and head for the coffee pot/tea kettle at home. If you add up how much you spend on your daily coffee, it likely adds up to a significant amount over the week, especially if you order specialty coffees like lattes. It’s totally fine to treat yourself once in a while, but when it becomes a daily habit, it can take a huge toll on your bank account.

3. Eliminate Expensive Nights Out

This includes “Brunching” as well Ladies!! Oh, how I love dinner and drinks with my girlfriends or fancy nights out with Hubby, but lets face it, it adds up! Opt for fun ideas for staying inside! Host a potluck game night where everyone brings something. Plan a free date with your significant other (consider going to the zoo or to a museum. Its FREE!). There are so many alternatives to expensive nights out, you just have to get creative.

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4. Plan Meals

Everyone grab your Tupperware bowls! Meal planning is one of the best ways to keep control of your spending when you’re on a budget. You should aim to plan for a full 7 days when you’re meal planning, this means that all your food shopping is done in one go and helps to keep control of your budget. Think about every meal of every day and all the snacks you’ll need too.

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5. Create Financial Goals

Financial goals are monetary targets that you establish for yourself and your family. Most of the time, they are based upon specific needs both in the present and the future. Typical financial goals include establishing a savings account, building a college fund for the kids, paying down debt, saving for a down payment on a home, or investing. Having no monthly budget can quickly lead to overspending on reckless purchases. When you have no idea where your money is going, it’s hard to make smarter choices about it. Without a savings account, one emergency can drastically upset your current finances. You may be forced to take out a high-interest loan or turn to credit cards, both of which can takes decades to pay off.

6. Cut Out Impulse Buying

Do we really need another pair of shoes? Or in my case, do I really need another unit (not sure what a unit is? Please click here —-> To Hair Or Not To Hair). In this day in age, we can have anything we want in one click. Online shopping can create an impulsive buying monster! Before buying those new shoes (or “unit”) on impulse, take a few days to think it over. I have a one-week rule. If I’m still thinking about it a week down the road, then I know I really want it. If not, I’ve saved a good chunk of cash.

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7. Create A Plan

Because a goal without a plan is just a wish….

I love Dave Ramsey and his 7 Baby Step Plan. My husband and I attended his Financial Peace University a few years back and it was a very enlightening course. There was something he said that stuck with me over the years, “Live like no one else, so that you can live like no one else”. The idea of that is so simple yet so difficult. If you live in a challenging way right now, you’ll be able to enjoy incredible opportunities and advantages later. Most people (like myself) find it hard to be as cheap as you can possibly be in order to live a financially prosperous life. Personally,  I believe that balance is the key, you can’t be miserable saving every cent for the future. You also cant just spend to spend and be broke later in life. Moral to the story: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

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Happy Savings!