Using a monthly budget always sounds like this awful concept to people, but let me ask you this. If you knew exactly how much money you were going to spend for the month before it even happened, and you knew you had enough money for all of your expected expenses, how would that make you feel?
I’m betting it would make you feel less stressed, less anxious and maybe even a little bit excited about the freedom you are going to feel for the next month. Having a plan for your money in the form of a monthly budget is going to change your life!
You may be thinking, but I have an app that tracks my spending so why do I need to do a monthly budget? Well, an app is only as good as the amount of time you spend going over your actual spending. I am not a fan of doing set it and forget it apps when you are just starting to budget. These will lead you to fail.
So, what are all the amazing reasons you should be using a monthly budget?
1. It will help you stay ahead of your payments.
A monthly budget is the easiest way to know what you have coming in and when your bill payments are going out. This makes it super simple to make sure you have enough funds to cover your bills.
The beauty of budgeting is you will know what is going to happen in the coming month. There will be no question of if your bills are covered. You can have complete peace knowing exactly what is going to happen because you already made the plan. You are in complete control of all of your money and there will no longer be the question of how much you have left at the end of the month.
2. It will curb your spending.
If you are budgeting on a monthly basis, you will plan for all of your expenses for the whole month. This amount of time only gives you 12 opportunities per year to go over budget (ie. 12 months). If you were to budget weekly, you would have 52 opportunities to go over budget! That’s a huge difference!
If you were living on a weekly or even every two-week budget, it would be super easy for you to just think, “Whoops! Overspent this week, let me do better next week!” You will likely do this over and over and over again. This will easily put you in a pattern of going over budget on a weekly basis.
Using a monthly budget will keep you in check and not give you so many opportunities to go over “just this once,” and then try to make up for it in the coming week.
3. It will increase your savings.
When you are working your monthly budget, you can designate money toward your savings. Instead of scrambling at the end of the month to look for any extra money you can use for savings or debt paydown, you will know exactly what you are saving at the beginning of every month.
When you set up your budget, you will look at your overall income and expenses (what comes in and what goes out) and decide how much you are moving into savings/debt payment before the month has even started. Then, when the month begins, you actually move the money to savings. This is the best way to ensure you are actually able to build your savings. Take the savings out first and stick to your budget! You will actually start to see progress.
4. It will help you be better prepared for emergencies.
When you are using a monthly budget, you can set money aside for emergencies. If you are new to the concept of emergency funds, check this out. I recommend you have at least $1,000 for actual emergencies that just sits there waiting to be needed.
Some people refer to emergency savings as sinking funds, but that is not quite the same thing. Emergencies are actual emergencies necessary for survival. Needing that new purse because it is so cute is not an emergency.
With a budget set up, you can conquer building your emergency savings first (this will give you so much security), then you can focus on sinking funds (which you should!)
5. It will help you build up sinking funds.
Sinking funds are the antidote to unexpected expenses. Sinking funds are essentially money that you save every month (you find savings within some of your categories) and designate it for a few things:
- Big ticket items (car, vacation, etc.)
- Unexpected expenses – you know these things that ALWAYS come up.
- Quarterly, Bi-annual or yearly expenses – sewer, water, HOA dues, life insurance premiums, etc.
Using a monthly budget will allow you to track exactly what you are spending throughout the month so you can find ways to get creative and cut back your spending. All of that extra money can be thrown into a sinking for whatever you need.
Imagine never worrying about unexpected expenses again. Using a monthly budget can do that for you!
If you are completely new to budgeting start here:
If you do not have an emergency fund start here:
I have so many helpful budgeting sheets, guides and checklists to get you started on your budgeting adventure. Sign up below to gain instant access. You should start with the Basic Budget Set Up!
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Doing a monthly budget by hand may seem like this overwhelming and pointless task, but I promise you, it will be life-changing. If you want your finances (and your life) to change, you have to change how you do it.
You are in charge of your life so start by taking charge of your budget. You will be able to curb your spending, save for emergencies, stop worrying about your bills and conquer unexpected expenses. Who doesn’t want that?!
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