Planning is everything and achieving success without up-front planning is rare. Achieving success with your personal finances is no different. While some manage to sneak by for months without sound planning and budgeting, their failure to plan inevitably comes back to bite them where it hurts—the pocket book. So why budget? Plain and simple, your financial wellness depends on it.

What are the barriers to budgeting?

There are many things that keep us from budgeting—time, confusion, and commitment, just to name a few. At one time or another, most of us have started a budget, but somewhere along the way we failed to maintain it. It’s not hard to understand why the number one reason adults fail to budget is because of past budgeting failures. In other words, we fail once or twice and then give up altogether. Remember if you fail to budget one day, live to budget another.

How long will I have to keep budgeting?

The benefits of budgeting last only as long as your budget is maintained. In order to keep on top of your financial life, you’ll have to get in the habit of sitting down to do the budget. It’s important to remember that budgeting doesn’t have to be a job if you budget on a frequent basis, it can take as little as 10 minutes a week.

What Do I Need For Counseling?

  • Save all of your income and expense receipts for one month.
  • List your typical monthly expenses
  • Bring your statements from your creditors. (if you don’t have them we can obtain a free credit report to assist you)
  • Bring any other information you believe would be helpful in understanding your financial situation.
  • Answer the following questions:
    • Where can you save more?
    • Where can you spend less?
    • What expenses can you live without?

Don’t have everything?  Don’t worry!  Call anyway!!

What Is A Spending Plan?

A Spending Plan is simply a plan for how you will spend your money. Through budgeting, you will clearly see what money you bring in (income) and where it is spent (expenses). If you ever wonder where your money seems to disappear to, this plan will help you find out and will help you reach your goals.

Why Make A Spending Plan?

A Spending Plan will help you:

  • gain control over your spending
  • feel better by relieving stress
  • be prepared for emergencies
  • get out of debt (and stay out)
  • start saving and build financial wealth

The budgeting process is broken down for you into five steps:

  1. List your monthly Household Income – the amount of money you take in each month.
  2. List your monthly Fixed Expenses – payments on things you need each month in order to live (these amounts are usually the same each month).
  3. List your monthly Variable Expenses – payments on other things you need (but you have some control over the amount).
  4. List your monthly Optional Expenses – the amounts you choose to spend on any other things (including impulse choices and other wants).
  5. Make choices for Your Financial Wealth Action Plan– calculate your totals, understand your numbers, choose targets, and take actions to meet your goals.

Dealing With Budget Barriers

Stuff happens. When you encounter an obstacle or a set-back, remember it is only temporary. You should not be concerned about making adjustments to your worksheets or Spending Plan. It is a natural part of the process. If something doesn’t go exactly as planned this month – relax, you are normal. Make the appropriate adjustments and refocus on your goals. You will succeed!

Keep in mind the primary purpose of the Spending Plan is to help you spend less than you earn. Be open to new ways to make that happen, especially when you encounter an obstacle. Living within your means is the keystone to financial wellness and future prosperity.

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