5 Steps of a Zero Based Budget – Post 415

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Episode 8 – 5 Steps of a Zero Based Budget

Saving money isn’t a matter of math—it’s a matter of priorities. We often tell ourselves we’ll start saving once we reach a certain milestone, like when we get a raise, we pay off the car, or the kids move out.

But without healthy money habits, you won’t save money when you get that salary bump, when you own your car, or even when the kids are grown.

You’ll only start saving money when you develop healthy money habits and your future needs become more important than your current wants.

It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. Yes, it requires dedication. But with a few tweaks to your spending priorities, you’ll be on the fast track to saving money in no time.

Why Americans Aren’t Saving Money

We all know we need to save, but most people don’t save like they know they should. In fact, a 2017 report by the Federal Reserve found that 44% of Americans couldn’t cover a $400 emergency, or they would cover it by borrowing money or selling something.(1)

Why?

Because they have competing goals.

A lot of times the goal to save money isn’t a big enough priority to delay the purchase of that new smartphone, kitchen table, or TV. So we spend our dollars away or, worse yet, go into debt to buy the latest want. That debt then becomes monthly payments that control our paychecks and our lives.

Let’s take a look at some facts about Americans and saving money.

  • The average cost of living in 2017 was $57,311 yet 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
  • The average American household debt is $137,063.
  • Only 41% of Americans have a budget.
  • 44% of adults can’t cover a $400 emergency.
  • 42% of Americans aren’t saving for retirement.

So What Is the Secret to Saving Money?

You can stop the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck with a simple secret: Make a zero-based budget before the month begins. A budget is all about being intentional. It helps you create a plan to see where your money is going and how much you can save each month. It’s never too late to take control of your money!

Saving money has to be at the top of your priorities and the top of your budget before you’ll gain any real traction with your goals. When you make a zero-based budget, you’re effectively saying, “I choose to put my future needs before my present wants.” It really doesn’t matter how much money you make—it matters how you spend the money you make.

What Is a Zero-Based Budget?

Zero-based budgeting is simple! It’s just a way of budgeting where your income minus your expenses equals zero. That’s all! With a zero-based budget, you have to make sure your expenses match what’s coming in during the month and you’re giving every dollar a name. Now that doesn’t mean you have zero dollars in your bank account. It just means your income minus all your expenses (outgo) equals zero.

Basically that means if you earn $3,000 a month, you want everything you spend, save, give or invest to all add up to $3,000. That way you know exactly where every one of your dollars is going. You could be setting yourself up for disaster if you don’t know where your money is going each month. It’s no fun to look up one day and find out you have no money—and no clue where it all went!

How to Make a Zero-Based Budget:

  1. Write down your monthly income. – You can do this the old-fashioned way with a sheet of paper, or you can use our super easy and free budgeting app EveryDollar. Your income should include paychecks, small-business income, side hustles, residual income, child support, and any other cash you bring in. If it’s money and comes into your household’s bank account, it’s income! Be sure to write it down and add it all up in your budget.
  2. Write down your monthly expenses. – Before the new month even begins, write down every expense. Things like rent, food, cable, phones, and everything in between should be added to the list. But be sure to start your budget with the Four Walls—that’s food, shelter and utilities, basic clothing, and transportation.After you’ve got all the essentials covered, continue listing out the rest of your monthly expenses. Your needs will change from month to month, which is why you need to make a new spending plan every single month. Don’t get overwhelmed! Just focus on one month at a time.

    And don’t forget to plug your saving and giving categories into your budget! Saving money isn’t a matter of math—it’s a matter of priorities, and the same is true for giving. If you don’t make saving and giving a priority at the start of your budget, chances are you won’t make them a priority in the future. PLUS, giving is the most fun you’ll ever have with money!

  3. Write down your seasonal expenses. – Now think through the whole calendar year—what expenses will you have coming up that you can start planning for? You know Christmas is in December every year, so there’s no reason to act like it suddenly snuck up on you. Regardless of the occasion, make sure you prepare for those expenses in the budget. Things like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are set dates that shouldn’t surprise you—or your budget.
    Next, think about all the irregular expenses that can pop up. Plan for those too! Things like car tag renewal fees, property taxes, and even your insurance premiums can be budgeted for. If you set aside a little bit each month, you won’t feel the strain of an expense “blindsiding” you all at once.
  4. Subtract your income from your expenses to equal zero. – We want this number to be zero, but it might take some practice to get there. Don’t be shocked or worried if they don’t balance each other out right away. That just means you need to do something to bring one of the numbers up, the others down, or both! It’ll take some work, but getting this written down is what will give you permission to spend without regret!If you’re spending more than you make, trim up the budget so your income and outgo equal zero. To cut back expenses, try buying generic at the grocery store, cutting the cable, using coupons or the store’s app, making coffee instead of buying it, or catching a carpool to work. If you need to bring in more money, start a side hustle or look for stuff around the house that you can sell to make quick cash.

    Here’s the deal with a zero-based budget: Every dollar must have a name! That doesn’t mean you have zero dollars in your bank account at the end of the month—it just means you have zero dollars left over in your budget.

    If you fill out every line item in your budget and come out $100 ahead (meaning you have nothing for that $100 to do), you haven’t finished your budget! You must assign that remaining $100 to something. Whatever you decide is totally up to you. But if you don’t give it a name, it will be spent, and you’ll end up wondering where that extra $100 went. And who wants to lose $100?

  5. Track and go! – All that’s left now is for you to track your expenses throughout the month. It’s the only way you will know if you’re spending lines up with your plan! This is how you’ll start winning with money throughout the month AND throughout the year. When you track your expenses and engage with your money, you actually make progress and learn to love your life—and your bank account.

Having a zero-based budget is the quickest way to make your money goals a reality!

Trying to get out of debt?

You need a budget.

Saving up for a safety net?

You need a budget.

Wanting to put money away for retirement?

You need a budget.

Already a millionaire?

Guess what—you still need a budget.

Remember, you’re the boss of your own budget. You get to tell every single dollar exactly where it will go each month. And don’t think of it as limiting your freedom. Having a budget actually gives you the freedom to spend money AND makes your money go further!

Now is the best time to start taking control of your money! I’ll be covering many topics to teach and encourage saving and debt freedom. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast and my blog at ProsperityRx.com to learn how to save money, make a budget, pay off your debt, reduce your taxes and invest for your future.

And if you found value in the information that I’m providing please like and share this with others

Also if you want to learn more about how to create extra income by starting a home business that requires no startup capital, no pyramid that requires a monthly auto shipment that cost you money every month instead of creating money, and no selling of lotions, or potions or pills, or quick magic diet aids that melt away inches in minutes or other such scam promotions visit http://AIMHighForSuccess.com.

Start Today!

 

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10 Budgeting Myths and Setting Goals – Post 411

anchorEpisode 4 – 10 Budgeting Myths and Setting Goals

On our last post we looked at the group of excuses called “Family Comes First Excuses.” I encourage you if you haven’t listened yet to go back and do so.

Today let’s look at the “I’ll Do It Later (I Promise) Excuses.” Some of the most common attitudes toward getting out of debt that procrastinators think is

  1. We’ll pay it off when the tax return comes in.
  2. I’ll start my budget next month.
  3. I’ll worry about the future when it gets here.

We’ve all procrastinated when it comes to getting our financial house in order. The key to do it successfully is by creating a budget. However you’ve probably heard a lot of trash talk about budgeting over the years. Or maybe you tried budgeting in the past and didn’t stick with it each month. But don’t judge budgeting until you hear me out!

Having a budget is essential to helping you beat debt and win with money. It’s the map you need follow to get where you want to go in your journey. First I want to debunk some of the top budgeting myths so you can start winning with money. Then I want to show you how setting some goals can get you the motivation to overcome procrastination.

Let’s start with 10 Budgeting Myths You Might Be Falling For

1. I don’t have time to budget.

If you’re not doing a budget because you don’t think you have the time, consider taking a fresh look at your priorities. You might be surprised at how many “things” you could let go of in order to get your finances back in shape. You know, those things that really aren’t as important as taking control of your money.

It’s true that you might spend a few hours a month mapping out your expenses when you first start budgeting. But after those first few months, it’s pretty much smooth sailing! You’re simply plugging in numbers and letting math do the rest.

The Budgeting Myth is Making a budget is difficult and I hate math.

Speaking of math, this isn’t rocket science. If you can do basic third-grade math, you can make a budget. Your income minus your outgo needs to equal zero. That’s it!

Seriously, hating math is a pretty lame excuse. Instead of hating math, why not hate being in debt? Don’t stay away from the budget because “math is too hard?” It’s not. There is a free budgeting app EveryDollar from the Lampo Group that you can get from the app store on your smart phone that does the math for you!

The third Budgeting Myth Budgeting is boring.

You’d be amazed at how many people don’t make a budget every month because they think it’s boring. You know what else is boring? Credit card statements. And collector calls. And bankruptcy court . . . actually, all of that is pretty awful.

If you’re a free spirit when it comes to budgeting, stop and take a breath. You can do this! Once you get the hang of it, making a budget isn’t bad at all. And as time goes by, you might even find it a little fun. Imagine that! Get your spreadsheet-loving, planner of a spouse or friend to help give you that extra push.

Budgeting is key to helping you get out of debt. And being debt-free? Now that’s fun.

The fourth Budgeting Myth I can do a budget in my head.

If you can seriously do a zero-based budget in your head every single month, we’ll assume you’re the most brilliant person on the planet. Could you please help our government make a budget?

A budget in your head isn’t a budget. It’s just a kinda-sorta-vague-idea-of-what’s-being-spent thing. For a budget to work, it needs to be something you can track. And if you’re married and doing a budget in your head, that means only one of you is involved in the decision making—and that’s a definite no-no! You need to be working together.

The fifth Budgeting Myth I budget by keeping track of everything I spend.

That’s a start, but it’s not a budget. When you only track spending, you’re always looking at the past and never looking forward.

Your budget is your game plan for the upcoming month. You’re planning what you’ll do with the money you haven’t spent yet. When you keep receipts or use your online bank statements to see what you spent last month, you’re doing just that—looking at last month.

You need to plan for your future spending while looking at your past spending, not just one or the other. If you’re already tracking your spending, the budget is just a natural next step.

Number 6. A budget is too restrictive.

You don’t want to give up your Saturday morning coffee and bagel at the corner café, we get it. Don’t worry! You can keep your weekly caffeine and bagel combo, just put it in the budget.

What does that mean? When you create your monthly budget, be sure to include things you enjoy. Budget for that weekend treat, Friday night takeout, or trip to the movies. Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore. Believe it or not, a budget actually gives you the freedom, the permission to spend your money!

Number 7. There are always unexpected expenses, so why bother to budget?

Sure, things can come up unexpectedly. But that doesn’t mean your budget has to suffer because of it! In our experience, things aren’t always as “unexpected” as they seem. You know your friend’s baby shower is coming up next month, you know when your car registration is due, and you know Christmas is in December every year. Be sure to plan for those type of things in your budget.

And if you find you really, truly keep having unexpected costs to cover, add a “miscellaneous” category in your budget. Use it as the catch all you can dip into when something unexpected arises. Just remember not to abuse it.

8. Budgeting means I can’t go out to eat anymore. I hate cooking!

You hate cooking? Join the club! First of all, the rumors are true. You can actually eat at home without having to cook. Keep a rotation of PB&J, soup, tuna and salad on hand, and you’ll be set! But really, it’s worth it to learn how to cook a few good meals. Pro tip: The slow cooker is your friend.

Having a budget doesn’t mean you never set foot in a restaurant again. You just have to budget for it. Add a date night or girls’ night out line item to your budget. Add a column for Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A and everything in between if you want to. The point is, just make sure you have room for it in the budget before you spend any money there.

9. It’s not the right time for me.

Is it ever going to be the right and most optimal time? Not really. Something will always come up. That’s life.

Are you putting off starting a budget just because you have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Don’t let that be your excuse! If anything, you need a budget now more than ever.

A budget helps you figure out how much you want to spend on the gifts and festivities. Sure, every month will look different, but here’s the great thing: You know the date of those holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. They don’t ever change! Put them in your budget months in advance so you can start saving.

10. I make plenty of money . . . I don’t need a budget.

If you think doing a budget is only for people who have trouble making ends meet, think again. We’ve been making a budget every month since he we started nearly 20 years ago. It doesn’t matter if you have $100 to your name or if you’re a millionaire—you need to tell your money where to go. Everyone needs a budget!

I hate that so many people fall for these budgeting myths and excuses, but you don’t have to be one of them! You have the power to take control of your money, all you need to do is take the first step.

If you need some extra motivation, try setting a financial goal. Think about something you’ve always wanted to do. Go on, let yourself daydream a little. Is it skydiving? Going back to school? Starting your own business? Backpacking across Europe with your best friend? Getting a dog?

Whatever it is, now is the time to end all procrastination. Too many people waste their time thinking about something they want to do, but very few people actually do it. Don’t let yourself become another sad statistic of someone not being motivated enough to pursue their goal.

Excuses Are Enemies

Think about what’s stopping you from chasing your dream. Is it fear? Are you afraid you’ll take a chance and fail?

Maybe it’s money. Are you so worried about money that you let it push your dreams to the side?

A lot of people use time as an excuse. We’re all busy, and it’s no secret that Americans are getting even busier and have problems saying no.

But you can’t let any of the excuses put a halt on your goals. If you want something bad enough, you will make the time to turn your dreams into realities. Figure out what’s stopping you from pursuing your goal, and determine a way to get around that.

Here are five steps to take your aspiration from a pipe dream to a page in your personal history book.

  1. Create a plan.

Remember what stopped you from pursuing your goal until now? Well, come up with a plan to not let that reason stop you anymore. Whatever the issue, having a plan in place will give you the confidence boost you need to actually make this happen!

  1. Do your research.

Get advice from others who have done what you want to do. Learn from their mistakes. Read books from and about them. Having lots of information before you head into something is always a great way to be prepared.

  1. Be realistic.

Some people have a dream of traveling across the globe in a year or hiking to the top of Kilimanjaro. Although it’s great to have goals, you need to make sure your dreams are doable for you within the time frame you have set. You should still challenge yourself and not make your goals so easy that there’s no motivation or sacrifice involved.

  1. Cover the financial aspect.
    Of course we’re going to tell you to do a budget! Dreams can cost money. Whether it’s $300 for a flight lesson or $5,000 for an Italian getaway, money is a crucial factor. Write up a plan for your moneyto make sure you have what you need to chase your goal.

Need to generate extra cash to reach your goal sooner? I can show you the method that I used to generate more income to pay cash for a used Cadillac CTS when we needed to get a better car. We did it by starting a home based business. I can show you how to start your own business with no up-front investment, no pyramid that requires a monthly auto shipment costing you money instead of creating money, and no selling of lotions, or potions or pills, or quick magic diet aids that melt away inches in minutes or other such scam promotions. Stay tuned to the end and I will share with you how to learn more.

5. Take a chance and go for it!

This step can be the hardest one to do because fears are holding you back. But if you’ve followed the previous four steps, you’re ready! Now it’s time to make it happen. Don’t talk yourself out of this dream. Life involves risks, but when you’ve planned ahead, those risks are a little less scary to take.

Once you’ve mastered these five steps, you will soon be marking off your dream from your bucket list. Perhaps it will even inspire you to dream up more goals for yourself! Conquer whatever it is that’s stopping you and achieve new results.

Now is the best time to start taking control of your money! I’ll be covering many topics to teach and encourage saving and debt freedom. Be sure to subscribe to my blog at ProsperityRx.com or to my podcast ProsperityRx to learn how to save money, make a budget, pay off your debt, reduce your taxes and invest for your future.

Also if you want to learn more about how to create extra income by starting a home business that requires no startup capital, no pyramid that requires a monthly auto shipment that cost you money every month instead of creating money, and no selling of lotions, or potions or pills, or quick magic diet aids that melt away inches in minutes or other such scam promotions visit http://AIMHighForSuccess.com. Start Today!