How to Stick to a Budget and Still Have a Life

How do you stick to a budget and still have a life?

This is a massive head scratcher for people! I speak to so many people about budgeting and their biggest fear is that they are going to have to go without. It’s a funny fear isn’t it? Because you want to spend the money now rather than save it for later, you might even be using a credit card or personal loan to supplement your spending. It really is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Once you know what you consider to be a success, you can prioritise. The only bad budget is the one that doesn’t achieve your interests so lets put that into an example.
If you are spending everything you earn each fortnight and focusing on the “now” spending, but retiring early is one of your biggest priorities, then maybe your budget needs to push you to meet your goal of retiring early.
If you define success as having money to burn each week and you don’t want to think about your future then your budget needs to reflect that (and probably does). In my opinion, never putting anything aside for later is self sabotage, but you are the only person who can make that decision.
So how do you get the best of both worlds? A decent life now that doesn’t take away from your decent life later? If a budget is all about planning out your cash flow to give you the greatest chance of success, what we really need to do is define success to you. This is where is gets a little more complicated.
1st, you need to work out what you need to save to have your decent life later. This can be very complex and you may need to speak with a professional to really define the monetary number.
2nd, you need to be aware… aware of what it costs just to live as you and also what most other people spend.
3rd, you need to define what the absolute “must haves” are in your life.
4th, it becomes a simple math problem. Your take home pay – your savings – absolute costs = decent life spendings.
5th, prioritise, prioritise and prioritise! If going out for beers is your thing, no problem, but if you spend that left over amount and you don’t have enough for take out later in the week, don’t get disappointed with your beers purchase.
Make sure your spending doesn’t give you buyers remorse and you will have your cake and will be able to eat it too!
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