Question: What’s the difference between Bill Gates and 50 Cent?
Answer: A successful budget.
I know. I’m the funniest person alive.
Seriously, though, there’s a reason 50 Cent went broke and now has…well…50 cents left to his name.
Today we’re going to talk about your budget…and how to make it successful so you don’t lose all of your cents.
This is what everything in the Budget Like A Boss series has come down to. This is where we separate the girls from the women, the men from the boys, and the super weirdos from the merely abnormal.
Adjusting your budgeting each month is the key factor in whether you’ll be successful in the long run. It’ll prevent you from petering out before you’ve even crossed off your first financial goal.
After all, why the hell are we even doing this if not to be successful? So, let’s go, people!!
Celebrate A Successful Month Of Budgeting
That’s right! The first step is to Partay with a capital P. Break out the pinatas and confetti dudes, it’s time to celebrate!
For reals, though. You just did something that two-thirds of Americans don’t, or can’t do. You deserve a motherf@&@%n medal.
In fact, here is one. I made it just for you. You can print it out and put it on your fridge if you want:
How Did You Do?
Take a few minutes to scope over your budget at the end of each month. How did you do?
Pay special attention to those categories where you came in under-budget, and over-budget. Those are ones you can move money around from if you need to later.
Also take note of any categories where you came in right at the budget mark. Those are ones that you planned out well; good job! You win at budgeting.
Adjust Your Budget’s Problem Areas
Let’s be honest. We all have them. They’re the cold sores of the budgeting world.
We might wish we could spend less in an area, but when it comes right down to it—despite our best intentions—we overspend.
For me, my problem area is dining out. I’m a far cry from my old Pac-man days of gobbling up any fast food that I happen to be driving past, but each month, I still spend more than I want. We tried setting our budget at $300, but despite our best efforts, we always spend at least $375 per month.
Even though this is our problem area and we overspend each month, we’re not failing. We used to spend $800/month on dining out, for f@#k’s sake! Even if we spend $375, we’re still winning, even if we don’t spend under $300 like we want. We’re still spending $425 less than we were before, meaning we save an extra $5,100 per year.
Instead, you can handle it in one of three ways:
- Allocate more money to your problem from an under-budget area for next month
- Find a way to cut back in another area
- Earn more money
Can you cut out something like cable, or even try drying your own clothes at home to save on laundromat fees?
Related: Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul (affiliate link)
You can earn a decent amount of cash each month by just doing some surveys in your spare time, or signing up for a free Swagbucks account (affiliate link).
Revisit Your Budget Each Month
Make it a habit each month to go over your budget. If you have a spouse/significant other, you can even turn it into a budget date. Break out the Bota box wine and sit down for ten minutes with your homie and review your budget.
Here’s one thing to keep in mind: your budget is not permanent. It will change. We’re not working with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs over here. It’s OK to f@#k it up and fix it later. I promise you the budget police aren’t gonna come after you.
Each time your income changes you should also revisit your budget. Can you allocate more money to your retirement fund so you can retire before you’re a blind wrinkled prune?
Get Ready For Financial Success
Congratulations!!! As long as you keep up your budget you’ll be well on your way to success. These first few months will be the most difficult for you.
Your cash will be tight, especially as you work to break out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle so you can start each month with a fresh pile o’ cash. But once you get there, the feeling is oh-so-amazing.
In fact, let me share a brief conversation I just had the other day with you. I was switching my student loan payment from the middle of the month to the first of the month, so I could get all my loan payments out of the way in one fell swoop.
Student loan dude: “Just FYI; your loan payment will now come out in two weeks. Sometimes that catches people off-guard.”
Me: “Oh, that’s OK. I start out each month with a full month’s worth of money in my checking account anyways.”
Student loan dude: “Oh…well….then, you win at money!”
Budget like a boss. Win at money.
What Do I Do Next?
Congrats! This is the last post in my Budget Like A Boss series. For more info on how to set up a successful budget step-by-step, check out the other posts below:
- What Are Your Current Spending Patterns?
- Set Kick-Ass Financial Goals
- Create A Budget
- Track Your Spending
- Create A Badass Money Saving Plan
- Adjust Your Budget <- You are here!
How has your budgeting process evolved over time? Leave a comment below!