What do you think of when you hear the word budget? If you’re like most people, it’s not a positive word. You might think of handcuffs, restrictions, or failure. It doesn’t have to be this way. To start, let’s adjust our verbiage from “budget” to “cash flow management”.
By using “cash flow management”, it puts you in control which is ultimately the goal. It’s critical that you feel empowered by your finances, not allowing your finances to control you. Cash flow management is a plan of how you spend your money and how you save your money.
At its core, cash flow management is an outline of your priorities and values. By having an idea of where your inflows (savings) and outflows (spending) occur you can see where your priorities and values stand. An evaluation of your cash flow will allow you to see if your priorities are well represented by your financial habits.
Understandably, many people feel as if they don’t have enough money to go around. You might be dealing with student loan repayments, mortgage payments, saving for a child’s education, saving for retirement, etc. It can feel daunting when you consider the various responsibilities you have and consider how to utilize your money to properly represent your priorities. For this very reason it’s critical that you have a well thought out spending and savings plan that you follow. It needs to be an automatic process so one doesn’t allow stress or emotion to creep in and throw your plan off course.
I urge you to take a moment to complete a detailed review of your expenses and savings for the past three months. Do you feel like your money habits are aligned with your priorities and values?