I don’t take naturally to cooking, much to my wife’s chagrin. But, fair is fair, and since she makes about 350 dinners in a given year, I figure I can get a grip and make 15 or so dinners over the course of 12 months. Unlike those great home cooks on Master Chef, throwing the best ingredients and culinary tools in front of me does no good. It might as well be the pieces of a disassembled car engine. There is no hope of me ever putting them together in a way that results in a good dining experience, at least not without a plan…not without a recipe!
Having a structure to follow when dealing with your income and expenses can make a daunting task seem downright easy. The structure of a budget, and there are an endless variety of budgeting methods to choose from, begins to give you piece of mind. Even though seeing all of that information in one place can be overwhelming, knowing the full picture of your financial situation is the first step to correcting any problems you are experiencing with your money. Facing these issues head on is the only way to make progress towards your financial goals.
The heavy lifting of budgeting occurs at the beginning, when you are first going through the job of tracking how you use your money. It can take a month or two to get a handle on all your spending so you know exactly what you’re dealing with. And it can take another month or two to dial in your budget to make sure it is meeting your family’s needs. But once that phase has passed, your budget will likely need just a few small tweaks each month and will provide a strong foundation for your personal finances for years to come.
Your monthly budget is the foundation of your successful personal finance plan. It is also the key ingredient in the recipe for paying off debt and building wealth. The Lampo Group, Dave Ramsey’s company, has found that the single biggest correlating factor to whether or not their clients win with money is the use of a monthly budget. Those who win use a budget, those who struggle do not. So, grab that recipe and head to the kitchen! We’re going to be cooking up some financial fitness!