What comes to mind, when you hear the word “budget”? Let me guess… restrictions… no fun… controlling… great idea, but impossible in real life?

Well, let’s shatter everything you think you know about budgets, and replace it with a completely different perspective. And while it may be different than anything you’ve heard before, that may be a good thing!

The truth is, a budget is just a way for you to reach your financial, business, personal, relationship, and even health, goals. You’re probably saying, “Dani, how on earth can a BUDGET do all of that?!”

Once you create your budget – and stick to it – you will be amazed by the freedom you gain, to do the things that truly matter to you. Sure, in the beginning, it may be difficult. But I promise, if you stick to it and exercise self-control, you will reap the benefits!

Now, it IS a process, so I’m going to break it down for you step-by-step, easy as pie!

To get where you want to go, you must know where you ARE. So today, let’s identify your financial habits. You need to understand the financial decisions you’re currently making and, in the process, probably discover some decisions you didn’t even realize you were making!

So, grab a piece of paper, a pen, some highlighters and your bank statement. Make a list of the bare minimum you need to survive: housing, transportation and food. And then find out where your money is going. And I mean every red cent! Now, start highlighting every single expenditure:

  • Yellow: Food
  • Pink: Debt payments
  • Blue: Necessities (rent, utilities, water)
  • Purple: Gas for your car or other transportation costs
  • Orange: Everything else (Yep…everything!)

Once you do this, your statement will look like a rainbow. Now, add up the total expenses in each category. Then, go through each category and figure out the true necessities… and the luxuries.

Be careful, it’s easy to label a luxury a “necessity.” Let’s look at food, for example. The $5 coffee – is it a necessity or a luxury? Eating out (fast food, the deli, a restaurant) – necessity or luxury? Picking up something for lunch because you forgot to pack a lunch for work – necessity or luxury? Those are ALL luxuries!

It’s also easy to get caught up in the emotional aspect of this process. Maybe you don’t want to admit you spend $300 a month on fast food, or $500 a month shopping online. You might feel shocked (or shamed) by the numbers you see on your bank statement. As you go through this exercise, separate yourself from your bank statement. Be totally objective. Examine it as if it belonged to a total stranger.

Getting through this initial exercise may be hard, but it sets the stage for your financial future. As soon as you figure out where you’re starting, you’ll see habits you need to change and can then turn to RUN in the other direction – toward financial independence!

Finally, add up all the real necessity expenses. Everything else is “fat” in your budget… the extra money you spend on foolish things. This is where all your hard-earned cash goes! This is where you will find the money to annihilate your debt, take your dream vacation, pay for your kids’ college tuition, build a home in Nicaraguan for a family in need, or anything else your heart desires! Remember when I said budgeting can help you reach your goals? NOW it makes sense, right!?

Now, with your highlighted bank statement in hand, you’re ready for Part II! You’ll learn how to create a budget you can actually stick to. And trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds! I know budgeting can seem like a big, bad, scary monster, but truthfully, it will only help you in the long run!

I am so excited for you to start this journey today, my friend. Stick with me, and we’re going to get you on the road to financial success!

Oh, and I almost forgot… you have some homework before you move on to Part II! Leave a comment telling me about your current budget. Do you even have a budget? If so, do you stick to it? What is the hardest part of staying on-budget? Were you taught to budget, or is it something you’ve had to learn along the way? Tell me below!

And don’t forget to join me today for The Dani Johnson Show for more valuable insights and inspiration. You can find the show on your TV and radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right here on our website.

In great faith,

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Categories: Budgeting   

Tags: article   budget   budget tips   Budgeting Bootcamp   The Daily Fix   

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