- Emily Kern
8 Reasons to Budget Monthly
I was never a “budgeter.” I tried not to spend much and made sure my bank account went up more than down. Then I married a CPA… and needless to say, we have a monthly budget that tracks our finances down to the penny! Initially, I wasn’t sold on spending time every month reviewing expenses and updating our goals but now, I can’t imagine NOT doing it! Here’s why.
1. Budgeting exposes spending habits.
I’m scared to know how much I spent on Japanese takeout in college. (It would’ve been less if I had a budget!) Budgeting keeps us aware of what we’re spending which, in turn, makes us more conscious of each debit card swipe.
2. Budgeting prevents unnecessary surprises.
Budgeting helps you visualize future expenses to keep them from sneaking up on you. What month is your insurance payment due? Do you have trips planned? Christmas is the same day every year; buy those gifts throughout the year to prevent a big dip in your bank account this November!
3. Budgeting helps your family be on the same page.
One of the top conflict-starters in marriage is money. Budgeting allows you to set expectations together and prevent disagreements about where your money is going. Work toward common goals and reach them faster!
4. Budgeting makes you think about what you want NOW vs. what you want MOST.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
When you consistently review your finances, both short-term and long-term goals are more prevalent in your mind. You’ll know that overpriced Ben & Jerry’s isn’t going to help you meet your savings goal (or your weight goal, for that matter). Being disciplined in the small, daily decisions will help you achieve what you want most in the long run.
5. Budgeting puts you in control of your money.
As Dave Ramsey says, “You’ve got to tell your money what to do or it will leave.” When you budget, you’re telling your money where to go and what categories to fall under. It’s intentional. And, if your money doesn’t go where you wanted it to go, you’ll know it and be able to make adjustments!
6. Budgeting provides freedom.
Before we started budgeting, I felt guilty spending money on clothes. Buying clothes at second hand stores, where I always shop, is still more expensive than the zero dollars my husband spends on clothes! Now that I have a budget though, I’m free to spend within the budget and not feel bad. Seems counter intuitive, right? Trust me. It works.
7. Budgeting is a stepping stone to wealth.
Most people don’t get rich accidentally. They get rich by planning, preparing, strategizing, and maximizing. Budgeting gives a platform to do those things.
8. Budgeting is exciting!
Yes, it’s true! It’s exciting to set goals and hit them (or exceed them). Stick to the grocery budget. Give to those in need. Save for Johnny’s college. Pay down your debt. And then, celebrate. It’s an accomplishment. If you’re looking for a simple tool to get started with, check out Talent Financial’s budgeting tool.