Budgeting is weird, because almost every financial guru recommends doing it, and almost everyone who tries to do it struggles with it.
The truth is, there are a lot of things left unsaid when it comes to budgeting.
There’s a reason it doesn’t work…or doesn’t seem to work.
I’m going to explain how to actually budget effectively and cover some unanswered questions.
This is going to be extremely straight-forward.
I’m going to give you each step to get your finances in order.
At the end of one hour, you’re going to have a complete overview of your financial situation and be setting goals.
If you’ve read some books on goal setting, you’ve probably read that only 3% of the population have written goals.
That statistic is often followed by something like “it doesn’t matter if this is true or not, the point is very few people write down their goals.” There is a need for that justification.
This “3%” comes from a study at Yale University in 1953.
The story goes, a Yale University class set goals. 3% of the class wrote them down, while the other 97% didn’t. Twenty years later, the researchers checked in on the classmates to find that the 3% with written goals had more wealth than the other 97% combined.
What an interesting study…the only issue is that it never actually happened.
Money isn’t what really matters.
Sure, you need money to accomplish some of your goals or to make your life better…or at least you think you do.
We all think we need more money, more stuff. But money is just money. Stuff is just stuff.
We all know material items aren’t what’s really important.
That’s easy to say, but how do you actually live it out? It’s hard to say “it’s just money” when your only car breaks down and you have to spend $2,000 on a new transmission. It’s hard to say “it’s just money” when you might not have quite enough for the rent this month. Likewise, it’s hard to say “it’s just stuff” when something valuable is stolen or when something you just bought gets messed up.
As I was preparing this article, an interesting thing happened that really challenged me on this…
Cash or credit? What do you use?
I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey, but I don’t think everyone has to be stuck using only cash.
I’m a fan of credit card rewards, but I don’t think everyone is responsible enough to use them.
So how do you really decide whether to purely use cash or whether to get some credit card rewards?
Here’s how you can decide for yourself…
Email can steal more time than almost anything else.
When you’re going through email, you’re on someone else’s agenda. You’re responding to their needs.
Sure, you wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t get something out of it, but most of the emails you send are answers to other people’s questions, and responses to their needs. Even if you’re sending a decline, that still takes time.
I’ve written about email hacks before. I shared some important tips, so let’s do a quick summary and then get into three more tips that I’ve developed to stay in control of my inbox…
Stuff. It’s everywhere.
You have stuff you don’t use or need, and even stuff you forget you have.
Most of us have so much stuff that going through our garage is like shopping at a thrift store. All of the “oh yeah, I forgot about that!” and the “when did we buy this?”…you may even find that you’ve bought stuff that you didn’t even realize you already had.
The point is, you need to get rid of some stuff. Sell, donate, trash, or whatever…you need to declutter. That’s why you’re here.
Here’s a great method I’ve been using to get rid of 323 items over the last couple months…
We all know that discipline is about small habits, practiced consistently, over time.
So what’s the problem? Why is discipline hard?
Because, while those small habits are super easy to do, it’s just as easy to not to do them.
These small habits will help you reach huge goals, but…”there’s always tomorrow”…”I’ll start on Monday”…you know how it goes.
Sure it’s easy to not do it, but you’re about to have a plan. A plan of discipline that you’re going to stick with. So we’re done talking about not doing – it’s time to talk about doing.
The rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer. Right?
You’ve heard that a thousand times. It’s not fair, is it? Some people just can’t get a break.
Well, that may be true, but it’s not that simple.
So why are some people rich and others poor? Why do some poor become rich, while some families stay poor for generations?
It’s no secret that most people don’t know how to handle money.
Personal finance is one of the primary categories of blogs on the internet today.
That’s because it’s needed. It’s highly needed. And most people don’t even know where to start.
People don’t understand things like the stock market, mutual funds, index funds or compound interest in general. The average person doesn’t keep a budget, and they overspend on a daily basis.
I know you don’t do that, but you may still be wondering why personal finance isn’t taught in schools, and why most people don’t have a clue when it comes to money.
Here’s some insight…
To-do lists are great…except for that bottomless-pit part that you never get to.
How many things are on your to-do list that have been there for days, months or years?
There’s a reason for that, and here’s how to fix it…
I love learning.
Just last week I published “Never Stop Learning: 40 Places to Get Free Education Online”.
I’m a college student. I read daily. I’m taking a course at Codecademy. I’m constantly involved in military education.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of continued education.
The problem is when we let the process trump the outcome.
When companies grow into large corporations, people start depending on them. Eventually, many other companies depend on them. If they keep growing, an entire country’s economy could depend on them.
What happens when one of these companies fail? What happens when they file for bankruptcy? Is that even possible or are they actually too big to fail?
It’s easy to see, after the Great Recession of 2007-2009, that no company is too big to fail. Here are some prime examples…
Sure, there are plenty of places to learn online.
You can always go to Google, YouTube and great blogs (like this one, right? Right?? Please tell me you love me!).
Those are all great places to find information, but you already know about those and it’s easy to get distracted at such broad websites – especially YouTube…have you ever fallen into the just-one-more-related-video-in-the-sidebar trap?
I spent a lot of time compiling these resources. Of course, I could have spent a lot more time, but you only live once – I’m using that phrase in the sense of time, not in the sense of making a really bad decision because YOLO. There are literally hundreds of thousands of hours worth of material here. We only have so many hours in our lives and going through all of these courses may take all of them, so I feel like I’ve listed enough.
Let’s dive in, starting with free college courses…
What do Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt have in common? A lot actually…but for the sake of this guide: journaling. They all kept a journal.
Notice how they didn’t just talk about keeping a journal. They didn’t just say they wanted to keep a journal. They actually did it. And it was a daily discipline. How often do we talk about implementing habits like this and never get around to it?
You may realize the importance of a journal. You may like the idea of keeping a journal. But do you do it?
The time is now. If you keep putting it off, you’ll be 90 years old, wishing you had written something to pass down.
And that’s just one of the reasons to keep a journal…