Level Up Your Finances with Budgeting and Action Plans
In what ways do you want to progress with your finances; level up? What are your financial goals? What are you striving to achieve with your hard earned money? Does your money go in the places it should for you to achieve your financial goals?
It's so easy to swipe your debit or credit card while out on the town and lose track of how much you are spending. You may not even realize how much your bills come to at the end of each month. You may find yourself working hard for two weeks to get paid on a given Friday only to be completely wiped out by Tuesday. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself, miserably questioning where all your money went? Don't worry you are not the only that has ever had to make a dollar out of 15 cents, spent way too much time in Target, or had an expected emergency and your bank account or credit never recovered. Some of these things can be managed if you are aware of where your money is going and have a plan to control your finances. To progress and level up, you have to know where you are so that you can get where you are trying to go. This is where budgeting and action plans play an essential role in reaching your goals.
Budget Plans: Budget is not a curse word
I was blown away the first time I wrote my budget on a sheet of paper. I managed to pay my bills on time, but only the minimum. Once I wrote my budget, I could clearly see that I was living at my means. This means that I was spending just as much as I was earning, leaving me little room to save or pay extra on bills. At the rate I was going, I would never have a surplus for the experiences I desired. Here’s some advice, always live below your means! Just because you have it, doesn't mean you have to spend it. Having the written budget really helped me see where I overextended. I knew it was time to make changes to make room for the things that mattered. While I can tell how I adjusted my income and expenses, I would rather not influence your financial decisions. Everyone has a unique situation and diverse goals, therefore action steps will be different. With everything that needs to be handled in life, it’s easier to just put it down, make it plain, and make a plan to make sure it's not costing you.
If you are ready to take action to reach your financial goals, you have to begin with a proper budget. For some reason, when a budget is mentioned people nose begins to turn up paired with a mean side eye as if you cursed at them. I am here let you know that a budget is not a curse word. Now that we have that out of the way, a budget is simply a list of income and expenses, assets, and debt that creates a visual where your money is going. Write down your net income (how much you bring home) and all of your debt and monthly expenses down to how much you spend on gas. If your bottom line is negative then you have a shortfall and you will need to make adjustments.
Some of us can relate to juggling bills by robbing Peter to pay Paul for ends to meet. Things happen in life and our finances can become a lot to manage but now is the time to figure out a way to improve. You may need to eliminate expenses, find more inexpensive alternatives, analyze your spending by needs or wants, or increase income. You can find a happy medium of enjoying life and improving your financial future. A budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with your funds. Having a budget creates a higher level of financial accountability. Once you have written analyzed your spending and figured out where you money is going. You may need to talk to a financial professional to gain perspective to help plan for the lifestyle that you would like. A financial coach/advisor will be able to give you insight on the how to get out of cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
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Action Plan: For Results, You Have to Take Action
The action of writing down a plan will elevate your level of commitment to your financial goals. When you are thinking about your financial goals, make sure it is personal to you. Make sure that it is something that you want so bad that you wouldn’t mind disciplining yourself and following the steps needed to achieve the goal. Keep in mind you can have a balance of enjoying life and taking care of your financial future.
1. Write down at least 3 action steps that will move you closer to the goals.
2. Write down the deadlines
3. Review your budget and make sure that your actions are realistic based on your budget. Think of ways can you adjust your budget to make sure that you are meeting the overall goals. You may need to look at your spending plan and how you are saving. Spending and proper saving may be covered in a different post.
An action plan is the motivation to achieve your financial goals. Action plans do not replace your budget or spending plans, it is something that complements your picture to improve your financial future.
When life throws an obstacle your way it is easy for cash flow to be become out of sorts or fall into credit debt. There also are times where you may have made bad financial decisions by trying to keep up with Joneses, Kardashians, Carters, or any social media influences. We may find ourselves overspending by brunch or dining out 4 times out of the week because it's the glamorous lifestyle and will make our Instagram feed popping. We have to stop looking at our lives through the lens of other people 30-second story. At some point we all may lose sight of our money, even with good intention. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There is no reason to be ashamed of where you are. Take a moment to figure out what you truly desire and where you want to be. It would only be a shame if you didn't seek ways and people to help you improve like a financial coach if you need guidance. Whether you are improving your credit score, looking to manage debt or spending, deciding how to properly budget, or trying to figure out how to save AND live your best life, there is a chance for your to increase knowledge about personal finances to reach your goals. You don't have to swim in crisis before you seek advice and resources to improve your finances.There is so much more to know about how to manage and level up your finances. Financially Savvy people aren't afraid to seek for advice. They are realistic about where their finances stand and always look for ways to become more savvy.
Let's get to work so that we can all exceed our goals and improve financial future!