How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life
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Budgeting is such an adulting term.
Nothing can make you feel more like an adult when you need to learn how to budget your money, stop buying frivolous things, and save for retirement.
A budget just sounds like no fun.
Is it possible to learn how to budget money and still enjoy life?
However, the bright side to budgeting (and normally overlooked aspect) is by setting up a budget is you start to live within your means and start your path to financial freedom. Here are all the advantages of budgeting.
Personally, financial freedom is way more enticing!
So, that means a budget is necessary. A budget is key. A budget will change your life forever.
Just FYI…Here at Money Bliss, we like to call it a Cents Plan. Why? A budget sounds constricting. Take your money cents and put it with your head sense to make your Cents Plan.
We will detail what is the proper way to budget for money.
But the question remains how to budget money without pulling out your hair and still enjoy life. (It is easier than you think!)
Do you Need a Budget?
First, let’s answer this age-old debate. Do you really need a budget?
The simple answer is it depends on what you want out of life.
Do you want to live paycheck to paycheck, struggling with money, straddled with debt? Or with financial independence where you control your destiny?
Stress vs. joy. The choice is yours.
With human nature, our tendency is to spend money. While there are some savers in the room, it is typically a learned trait. Society wants quick results and with material items so cheap, it is easy to go overbudget.
Does extra income really solve someone’s money problems?
Last I checked, there are plenty of people who made millions are in bankruptcy because of overspending, not living within their means, and a budget wasn’t a term they used.
Here is a quick test…
If you have read this far into the post, then you need a budget. Keep reading. We have plenty of information to help you succeed. Also, you will learn various ways to budgeting that work for you.
Longer Answer & Must Read: Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom – this is the long term answer to “Do You Need a Budget?”
Purpose of a Budget
Okay, so we figured out that you need a budget. But, you aren’t truly convinced about why you need a budget.
What is the reason or main purpose of a budget?
The purpose of a budget is to first decide where you plan to spend/save money and then, see if you followed through on your plan.
Are you under budget? Are you over budget? Specifically, are you making progress to your life’s vision?
That is the role of a budget.
It is a guide for your money. Like we have said many times before you can manage your money or have your money manage you.
Personally, we use a budget to reach financial freedom faster and to make sure we have money set aside to travel. We have chosen to live a little more frugal than our neighbors (some might say much more frugal). However, the trade off for us is to travel now. Not wait until “retirement.”
For us, the purpose of a budget helps us to travel each year plus work our way towards financial freedom.
For you, what is the purpose of a budget? What do you want out of life?
Use on of these methods of budgeting as a guide to develop your budget.
Importance of Budgeting
There are many benefits of budgeting. However, most people struggle with a budget because saying no to yourself can be hard.
Let’s look at the bigger picture.
Do you want to manage your money? Or have your money manage you?
The choice is yours.
A budget is just a spending plan written out in advance.
You manage money your way!
That is a huge importance of budgeting. Personally, I would much rather decide how I want to spend my money. That is one of the biggest reasons we decided to pay off our debt in one year.
The importance of budgeting is to make sure you are living within your means and have the ability to pay for your expenses.
A budget doesn’t have to be complicated. It helps you lower big ticket expenses like housing, food, and transportation and then make sure you have enough remaining for the rest of your expenses.
If debt is a part of your life, then you are able to pay off debt faster by knowing where you spend money (and specifically what is worth spending money on). If you are debt-free, then you can continue paying in cash rather than racking up debt.
By moving towards a budget, then the foundation is laid to build a solid money journey.
You know where and how your money is spent. Then, you’re not left at the end of the month wondering if and when you will run out of money.
Another key importance of budgeting is it forces you to be organized with your finances. Then, you know where your money is going.
Creating a budget shouldn’t be overcomplicated or hard. That is something we will teach you how to do.
Benefits of Budgeting
Too many times people have good intentions of creating a budget and give up too quickly, then they never finally understand the benefits of budgeting.
It will take a few months or paycheck cycles to truly notice the benefits of budgeting (AKA spending less than you make).
You need to learn how to budget money and get into the groove of it.
No matter what we do…we can’t change how fast the days move. This is hard when you are working hard on your budget for the first time and want to see progress faster.
Consistency makes budgeting actually work.
A few of the benefits of budgeting include:
- Stop fighting about money
- Ability to reach your goals faster
- Prioritize spending
Did you realize we only listed a few of the benefits of budgeting? Learn all nine Surprising Advantages of Budgeting your Money. (#7 may save your marriage)
As paychecks roll in and the months go by, you start seeing the bigger and bigger picture on the benefits of budgeting.
How to Manage Money
Now, that you read you need a budget, the purpose of a budget, the importance of budgeting plus the true benefits of budgeting, let’s learn how to manage money.
Specifically, how to manage your money.
Remember you have the choice to manage your money or have your money manage you. The choice is yours.
So, how can you manage your money?
One place to start is look at what others are doing. What makes them successful or not successful.
You can manage your money based off percentages like the Cents Plan Formula.
You can look at the household budget percentages to see how people spend money according to the statistics.
Ask a friend or family member how they manage money. (Some may tell you others won’t say a word.)
You can also go in depth with My Ultimate Money Blueprint.
Just remember, in the end, you want to manage money your way.
Steps on How to Budget Money
Managing money is more than just a budget.
It is about giving you choices in life.
These steps on learning how to budget money are very global. They aren’t specific tactics for budgeting. You can learn that in the 7 steps to making a budget.
These is the overarching themes that guide you on how to budget your money. Let’s budget your life and change your finances.
1. Life’s Vision
Before we starting truly budgeting, we just tracked our spending. Without fail each and every month, there wasn’t money leftover to do what we wanted in life. Things just didn’t seem fair.
Then, I got this hair-brained idea to pay off all of our debt in 1 year.
Let me tell you…it was the best decision we ever made. You can read about our journey to be debt free.
By paying off our debt, we decided to put us first and what we wanted in life.
Extra money was going towards all of debt each month. So, that meant everything else was hacked to make paying off debt possible.
During that time, we truly understood what we wanted in life, what was important to us, and how we would get there. I guess you could say we began to budget our life.
Do you know what your life vision is? Your why? Your next money goal?
If not, then start here on making money goals.
2. Live Within Your Means
While this seems blatantly obvious, it is one of the hardest things for people to do.
Income > Spending
Your income is greater than your spending (and hopefully savings is included in that number too).
One of the fastest ways to start living within your means is with a no spend challenge.
Plus it will help you uncover your life’s visions and what truly matters to you.
If you have been spending more than you make, then you are letting money manage you.
By living within your means, then you are managing your money your way.
Learn Exactly… How to Live Below Your Means and Love Life
3. Be Okay Being Different
The comparison trap is real.
With social media, it is hard to escape any type of comparison game. It used to be “Keep up with the Joneses’” and that just meant the neighbors and friends around you. Now, it is comparing yourself to influencers and people you will never meet in your lifetime.
The key to long term success on how to manage money is doing it your way, which means that your priorities will be different than everyone around you. And you have to be okay with being different.
Need ideas to stay on budget? Find 101 Fun Things To Do With No Money.
Need the motivation to live in a minimalist home?Hint: We were featured because while less is more.
4. Find a System to Work for You
The recommendation I always make when starting out with a budget is to use paper and pencil. Something tangible that you can touch and feel. Then, it becomes a constant reminder of your new ways of managing money.
Over the long-term with budgeting, you must find a system to work for you. Maybe an app? Maybe a spreadsheet? Possibly a software?
The key is finding a system that will work for you. And if you combine finances, it has to work for both of you.
This is where most people fail.
There are so many options for free and paid budgeting apps today. It may seem overwhelming. But, you can’t go back to other habits.
Today, we use Quicken and a personalized spreadsheet. Thankfully, Quicken does all of the hard work of downloading transactions, categorizing them, and creating reports.
5. Celebrate Successes
This is something that doesn’t happen as much as it should with money goals. Too many times, we are so focused on saving money and living frugally, we forget to live and enjoy life.
You need to stop and smell the roses.
In this case, you need to celebrate your wins along your journey.
Here at Money Bliss, we like to focus on…
Life. Money. Enjoy.
Life is first. You need to enjoy your life and figure out how money relates to your life. You need to budget your life.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate your success. And if you don’t believe us…One of the steps in the Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom is about celebrating success and doing something for you.
How to Set up a Budget
Setting up a budget shouldn’t be hard or complicated.
Don’t overanalyze. Don’t give up.
Most people have to work on setting a budget that works for them over a couple of months. Each month making small refinements.
The end goal is to set a budget that works for you.
A High-Level View of Budgeting:
- Determine what your money goals are
- Figure out your income
- Track how much you are spending
- Set up a Budget or Spending Plan
- Track your progress
Yes, this is a very high-level view of setting up a budget. At this point, you don’t have to divide up into budgeting categories if you don’t want to.
There are plenty of resources on our site to help you finalize a budget that works for you.
Find detailed resources on how to make a budget.
The key to setting up a budget is be realistic.
You want to set yourself up for success – not instant failure.
One of the key ingredients to make you a success is pocket money. Personally, I believe this one category can make or break your budget. Understand how pocket money (AKA slush money) works.
When setting up a budget for the first time, set aside time to work through the budgeting process. A solid budget that will work (remember that is a key ingredient for success) needs to be based on your life’s visions. Not just slapped together in 5 minutes.
Learn How to Budget Money
Learning how to budget money is completely doable.
Budgeting shouldn’t be cumbersome or overwhelming. In the long run, the benefits of budgeting outweigh living paycheck to paycheck or stressed about money.
A budget makes sure your expenses (and savings) are below your income. From there you can decide how detailed you want to get with your budget.
The purpose of a budget is to help you successfully reach your life’s visions. The point where you start managing your money and not being managed by your money.
Further resources on budgeting:
- 110+ Personal Budget Categories for a Fail-Proof Budget
- How to Make Living on a Budget Painless
- 12 Painless Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
- A Simple Christmas Budget Template to Keep You Debt Free
Make sure to download our free budget printables!
Best Budgeting Apps - The Top 10
From all of the free and paid budgeting apps, here are our top budgeting apps to check out!
Quicken Personal Finance & Money Management Software
Personal finance and money management software allows you to manage spending, create monthly budgets, track investments, retirement and more.
YNAB - You Need a Budget
Enjoy guilt-free spending and effortless saving with a friendly, flexible method for managing your finances.
Change your relationship with money!
Personal Capital - Track Your Finances for FREE
Personal Capital is wealth management for the Internet Age. The online platform combines digital technology with highly personalized service to provide a holistic view of a unique financial picture (AKA your net worth).
Make sure to connect all of your accounts within 7 days to set up your Personal Financial dashboard.
Tiller: Your Financial Life in a Spreadsheet, Automatically
Tiller is the only tool that automatically updates Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel with your spending, transactions, and balances each day.
Start your free trial.
Qapital - Discover true money happiness
Automate your financial plan with set-and-forget money tools that fit right into your daily life.
That’s why Qapital puts your goals front and center, then helps you plan your spending, saving, and investing around them.
Manage your money less in 5 minutes each week. Reach your money goals with confidence! The personal finance app gives you something to look forward to.
"The easiest, most comprehensive way to both see where your money is going and plan for future expenses."
Your automated financial assistant and budget tracker are designed to put you back in control of your money.
Stay on top of your spending, easily track bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions, and find ways to improve!
The best personal finance software for all walks of life.
Forge your own financial path – they provide the tools.
Click here to get 50% off the PocketSmith Premium Monthly plan for the first two months.
Bee Saving with HoneyMoney
HoneyMoney increases your awareness about your money habits. Being fully aware of your money naturally changes how you spend it.
Great way to use cash flow budgeting. Plus uses "envelopes" to budget.
Start your free trial.
Moneyspire: Have total control over your financial life
Moneyspire is user-friendly personal finance and small business accounting software that brings your entire finances together in one place.
Have total control over your financial life in one click.