There is something scary about starting over – leaving a comfort zone, even if it is a mess! However, there is also something about having a clean slate, a fresh start, a different way of doing things that is very exhilarating and rewarding.
Most times, its taking that step to just start over again that is the hardest thing to do.
But, we do it because we want to OR we do it because life circumstances force us to. Either way, a new beginning almost always works out for the best. We are just about to start the last 6 months of 2015. How have the first 6 months been for you? Have you achieved some goals and accomplished those resolutions you made on January 1st?
I know I have made forward progress on some and not-so-much progress on others. It’s time to re-evaluate those goals, make adjustments and finish the year strong.
One of the things I see most often is people struggling with their financial plan AKA the budget. First of all, the word “budget” is such a negative word in our society. It used to be that way for me too until I learned that a budget is really just a plan. Just a plan to tell your money where you want it to go so that you don’t wonder where it went!
You work hard to earn money. Every dollar needs a job to do. That is what the budget does – it keeps all your dollars in line, with a purpose. Regardless of whether you check your ATM balance on a daily basis or use a detailed spreadsheet, I’d like to share some mid-year budgeting tips to help you start over and finish the year strong.
1. Use pencil, paper and a calculator.
Yes, lets get back to “old school” budgeting. To this day, I do the budget in a notebook, in pencil. There is just something about writing out the numbers and manually doing the calculations that makes a different connection in our brains.
2. Proper Order
Make sure you prioritize your spending. This list should be the same every month. In FPU, we learn that the budget starts with the “Four Walls”:
Notice the “basic” before clothing and transportation. These are probably two areas of your budget where you can make the most changes. Once the money is allocated for the “Four Walls” then you can create a priority order list and allocate funds until you either run out of money OR run out of list!
3. Plan Ahead
Most things you spend money on should not come as a “surprise”. At this point in the year, you should start funds for the following:
Back to School clothes and supplies
Holiday spending (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. )
By now, you are probably thinking – “oh sure, you want me to pay all my bills, save money, use extra to pay off debt and THEN create extra savings funds!!!???”
Yes, yes I do.
This is where having a PLAN (budget) is very important. It’s also where you take the time to evaluate your current income stream. In order to make your money work FOR you, you need to do two things – #1 make budget cuts and #2 increase income.
So, if you have already cut your budget down to where you cannot cut anymore OR you might go crazy if you do, you need to look at alternate or additional income streams. There are a wide variety of options depending upon your situation. Keep in mind, this is something you may NEED to do, not something you WANT to do. If taking on a second job or looking for a new job is not exactly exciting to you, consider this –
How would you feel if doing something you don’t like, even for a short period of time, ends up helping you in the long term? I always tell my clients, “Short term sacrifices for long term gains”.
This is a great time of the year to re-evaluate your plan. If you are a couple who cannot have a single conversation about money or a single person with no accountability partner or even a busy mom or dad with a family and no TIME to sit and go over your budget, I’d love to help you.
In just ONE coaching session, we can review your goals and get a rough draft budget DONE. For me, its easy – you tell me what you want to accomplish and I figure out a way to help you. As a financial coach, one of the ways I help you is by taking the emotion out of budgeting. I don’t tell you how to allocate your money or give investment advice or even “choose sides” when it comes to disputes. I give you options to help you create a budget that works for you.
Are you ready to make the last six months of the year BETTER than the first six months?
Contact me and let me know how I can help!