13 Reasons Displaying Your Household Budget Will Increase Your Chance Of Success
Your budget does you no good if you create it and then never look at it again. Placing your budget in a drawer is a good case of “out of sight, out of mind”. It is too easy to forget and continue with what you are familiar with. You still rack up late fees because you forgot to make a payment, you don’t have funds to cover an emergency and your spouse is still spending money that you didn’t plan for. Here are thirteen reasons why you should find a place of honor to post your budget. This should be a place where you can see it every day, where it won’t get knocked down or hidden by other items. You may even come up with your own favorite reasons for posting your budget.
1. Easier To Track Your Budget
Let’s face it, it is easier to keep track of what you have written if you have it right there reminding you. It’s similar to having a calendar with important dates written on it hanging above your desk. If you can see it, you won’t be as easily distracted by other things and forget the important information. You have a constant reminder of what bills are still due, where that fifty dollars you seem to have floating around really belongs, and a reminder of why you need to put away a certain amount for emergencies.
2. Easier To Track Unnecessary Expenditures
Having a budget isn’t going to make you stop wanting to go for fast food when you’ve had a long day or make you stop wanting to purchase that new speaker system on sale. Having it hanging where you can be reminded of your goals, and the reasons you made the effort to prepare the budget in the first place, will help keep you in check when you think about those things. Seeing it hanging there in front of you will remind you that you have something in your cupboard that won’t be that difficult to prepare or that you already have a decent pair of speakers and don’t really need those new ones, even if they are on sale. A budget isn’t a magic tool to change your attitude overnight. It will, however, change your relationship with money gradually over time.
3. Your Budget Stays Accurate
When circumstances change that require updating your financial plans, you will be repeatedly reminded to do so. Every time you see the budget hanging there, it will be a reminder and you will eventually take the time to update it rather than keep being reminded. You may get a pay raise or one of your major debts may finally be paid off. Instead of celebrating your success by buying something new or going out an extra night, celebrate by updating your budget. Adding more to your savings will brighten up your future and make the celebration last longer.
4. You See Your Goals Regularly
This reason is especially helpful when you are feeling down and wondering why you bother working so hard. You are reminded that you have a goal in mind for that money you are saving. Think about the vacation you have planned or how it will feel when you finally sign the closing papers on your new home. Seeing your plans will help remind you that your work is important and that you will realize a reward of your own choosing at the end.
5. You Become Less Likely To Miss Bills
One thing that really adds up is having to pay late fees. What is even worse is if the bill you missed paying happens to be your mortgage or a major utility. By having your budget where it can be looked at without effort each day, you can see what you still need to pay for the month and get the money in before you incur late fees, or worse. When life gets stressful or something unexpected happens, it is very easy to miss things like regularly occurring payments. Time can seem altered and what you paid last month may seem like it was paid only a couple of days ago, giving you the illusion that you have plenty of time. With a displayed budget, that is less likely to happen.
6. You Stay Money Conscious
It is so easy to go into the mindset “I have thirty dollars in my wallet, so I have extra money to spend.” With your budget sitting there right in plain sight, your mind will be more likely to say “I have thirty dollars here, what did I forget to pay this month?” It is possible that money is your entertainment money but it is also possible you tossed it in your wallet because you needed to pick up some groceries before heading home. The budget will also help you avoid impulse spending.
7. Gets Everyone Involved
The best way to succeed at anything is to get the support of those close to you. Where a household budget is concerned, every member of the household needs to be on board or it won’t work. By hanging your completed budget where it can be seen by everyone, you eliminate many money arguments. The facts about where your money is going is plain for everyone to see and any disagreement can be stopped before it even starts. It is also a great way for other household members to keep you on track if you start thinking outside the budget lines.
8. Remains Relevant for Longer
The longer you work from a budget, the more you will realize your spending habits are automatically changing. You start looking for bargains when you shop, find ways to save money on common things like utilities, and make other changes. While these are small changes, they can add up in a big way. Add in a pay raise or a special bonus and your budget will need adjusting. Having it handy makes it easy to make these adjustments without them getting so far off track your budget is no longer relevant and needs to be recreated from the beginning.
9. You Can Add Notes
Notes are an excellent way to keep track of things that affect your relationship with money. By having the budget handy, you can add notes that can help you better adjust the numbers, remind you of your goals and why you started following a budget to begin with. You may find that you no longer feel you need the amount you spend on entertainment, or that you feel better if a larger portion of your money goes to savings or giving. In the end, you not only learn more about your spending habits but about yourself and what is important to you.
10. Your Children Will Learn
Children learn better from what they see you do than from what you tell them. Seeing you take the time to make a budget and watching you follow it daily will send a strong message to them that managing money is important. As they get older, they will get more involved and will be willing to work out their own budget when they need to. Younger children will learn that they can’t have something just because they want it. As they get older, an allowance will help them learn that budgeting will allow them to save for larger things they want. They will be able to better distinguish between wants and needs. As teenagers, a first job may allow them the opportunity to work out their own budget. Over time, your kids get a new respect for how money is earned and spent.
11. See The Bigger Picture
As months go by, you will go from seeing your budget as something that restricts where you spend to a tool that helps you achieve a greater purpose. You will be reminded of how your savings are growing and what that means. Your future goals will be seen as getting ever closer. As the larger picture becomes clearer, seeing your budget will be a pleasant experience.
12. Makes It A Habit
Habits take time to form. It took time for you to build up that habit of stopping at Starbucks every morning, didn’t it? The longer you follow your budget, the easier it is to follow. You end up developing a spending habit that will carry over to the times when your budget is not in sight.
13. Needs vs. Wants
When you are first setting up your budget, you needed to separate your wants from your needs. At that point, you may have felt that you had everything completely divided and everything in your budget was absolutely necessary. A budget tends to do two things over time. First, it helps you make decisions about your spending in many categories such as personal and entertainment. You learn to make choices based on which things are the most important. When you shop for groceries, you may ask yourself if you really do need that particular item or if you can do just fine without it. The second thing following your budget does is helps you realize that what you once thought was a necessity may have been a want the whole time and you missed that fact. One of the biggest examples is your housing. You may be still renting or paying off the mortgage on the home you bought when you had a growing family. At first, you consider that payment a need because you have the obligation. The thing is, your kids are grown and all living on their own. Do you really need that much space now? You may determine that you don’t, and a smaller home that reduces housing costs is better for you.
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