Most of us know what it means, the benefits it can provide, the discipline it requires, and the cold, hard realities involved in managing our money.
Maybe that’s why many avoid, delay, or downright refuse to do it.
But that’s a mistake, says Jennifer Desiar who runs her own business, Desiar Accounting & Bookkeeping Services, and has a number of helpful tips to help you maintain your finances well.
1. Take the time to make a budget
Budgeting helps you avoid potential financial pitfalls, and in the process provides some peace of mind, especially during a time the economy is experiencing rapidly rising inflation.
But you have to invest the time to make one.
“People come up with all kinds of excuses not to make a budget,” Desiar says. “They are too busy, it’s too hard, or they don’t know where to start.
“In reality, many people don’t want to live by the limits of their personal finances. And with credit so easily available, and current inflation making everyday living increasingly more expensive, the danger of not making a budget can see them slip into potentially massive debt quickly if they don’t have a financial guide.”
2. Set realistic budget goals
Budgets works best when you are realistic with your figures. “Simply start with how much you earn every month and compare that to what you spend,” Desiar says. “For many people that can be a real eye-opener as often people find their list of purchases exceeds their income.”
That should immediately ring some alarm bells as debt can accumulate rapidly and impact your future plans.
“It’s not uncommon that I see people who have worked all their life, accumulate and then carry significant debt with them into retirement,” Desiar says. “That’s not a good position to be in because it can severely limit your ability to make choices later in life.”
3. List your financial priorities
When making a budget, setting a list of priorities is vital. Start by assembling your fixed costs - bills that maintain your household such as food, power, heat, light and either rent or your mortgage, as well as other expenses deemed vital like a vehicle, cellphone, etc.
“Then figure out what are extra costs, items you don’t need and are not essential like entertainment, eating out, or that daily coffee you buy, which can really add up over time,” Desiar says. “But at the same time, you have to live.
“That means making some hard choices and setting priorities about how you want to live, and that includes the occasional reward and good time.”
And once you determine that, having the discipline to stay on budget is key.
“You have to remember that being sensible about how you spend your money can provide some very real benefits.”
For more information about how Desiar Accounting & Bookkeeping Services can help with your personal finances, visit desiaraccounting.ca.