The word “budget” is as exciting as the word “diet,” but being on one does not mean you have to go without delectable things.You have to set a budget to know what you are spending and to save for the things that really matter to you. Without a budget, you will spend everything you have and more. You might have an idea of what a good income should be. For one family of five, a household income of $40,000 would be like winning the lottery, yet other families making twice that income are struggling to pay mortgages, car payments, and regular bills. The reason some people with higher incomes are struggling is not always because they are big spenders. The reason that some very low-income people seem to have no debt while being able to occasionally buy high-priced gadgetry is because they budget.
Everyone can make a budget that allows for satisfying consumer cravings. The idea of budgeting is to show you what you have and to allow you to get control over what you can downsize and what you can keep. A budget is about control, and when you have control over your finances, you feel just as wealthy as a Rockefeller. A budget is not about extreme limitations. A budget gives you the ability to see that you are spending $200 a month on over-draft fees, vending machine snacks, or movies, and it allows you to decide if you think those things are worth the expense.
A consumer driven society makes it very easy for small consumables to suck the money from your bank account without you realizing how much they really cost. A budget shows you what you have, what you get, and what you spend. If you don’t like spending $40 a month in overdraft fees because your cable company takes money from your account two days before the due date of your bill, you can change that. If you don’t like that you have spent $300 a month on make-up and hair, but you need to have your hair done, you can find a coupon, limit your visits, or find a cheaper beauty routine.
A budget will help you through the extreme upturns and downturns of the economy. You should not be surprised to find out you are spending over $600 a month in groceries, or that milk costs $3.79 at your favorite store, or that you spend $96 a year to have call waiting. You should know what you are spending and how much things you buy cost. When prices soar, you should know how to par down your expenses, and when prices plummet, you will know how to take advantage of them.
Coupon divas and queens know what coupons they have and how much things costs. An extreme couponer generally has a “price book,” which she uses to write down the costs of the items she sees and buys. She won’t buy a frozen dinner because she has a $.55 off coupon when it costs $1.25. She knows it will go down to as low as $.85 in a month, when she’ll use her $.35 store coupon to get it free with $.10 toward her other purchases. Take heed of the coupon divas when doing your budget. Those coupon people are good at what they do because they know the details. Even though one family needs more stuff or another family needs less stuff, the couponing people take savings to a delightful extreme. You can do that with your budget, whether you make $18,000 a year or $208,000 a year.