I don’t know where you are located, but in the northern plans, it has been a long winter. One of the longest I can remember, simply because my family and I are so looking forward to warmer weather and lake season. After years of saving and planning, last summer we purchased a lake place at a resort in Minnesota. It’s about an hour from where we live and, even though we were only able to enjoy 1/2 of last summer, the sights and smells (yes, even the fishy ones) beckon us. It is very modest and utilitarian, but it has brought us together as a family. We enjoy long days out on the boat, the smell of suntan lotion, and catching our dinner with our fishing poles. All of the talk of summer brought my husband and I to the topic of our “Summer Budget.” We know that all of this enjoyment can lead to extra spending and how it can get out of control if we don’t agree to be on the same page, starting out.
One of the biggest lessons I learned about money is that once you take emotion out of it (whether it is emotional baggage that you have that you acquired from your parents growing up, or a tie that you’ve given it as an adult) you have the power. Money is, in simplest terms, a tool. In budgeting, you become in charge of the tool. How you choose to budget your money, or harness your tool is up to you, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that once you take control, your life is never the same. When you realize that money doesn’t own you, it doesn’t really do anything than give you the luxury of purchasing “stuff,” it is like you enter an alternate universe. You become in control and can make conscious decisions about your future.
I know many people don’t love budgets, I get it. They can be restrictive and confusing, difficult and time consuming. But, here’s the thing… Once you set limits on where you want to spend your money, you move from “where did all my money go” at the end of your paycheck cycle to knowing where it went. It’s a subtle, yet powerful difference. With a budget, or an eye on spending (some people find the word “budget” triggering, so I get it) areas, you get to tell your money where it is going to go. The best way to start is with a simple money plan that follows your payroll dates, knowing when you will be paid and when you will pay for the minimal debts due allows you to decide where everything else will go. I offer a challenge to you to go for a week (or month) and spend as little as possible (without interrupting your life or putting yourself in danger) and see how much you have at the end of the time period. It becomes empowering. Money spent mindlessly can be put towards your long term goals, or even short-term if that includes paying off a current debt.
If you have questions on how to get started, please feel free to reach out to me. I plan on uploading some different money management templates on the website in the near future. My goal is to keep things simple, but also allow you to take charge of the money that goes through your hands (or bank account.)
Thank you for joining me on this journey and cheers to the second day of Spring! <3 bobbi