Friday, September 17, 2010

Leading Change: The Budget

Well let’s be honest. You can have all the accountability and passion in the world but if you don’t have a starting point and some goals you’re not going to get very far. I know most of you read the word budget and immediately thought about flipping over to your favorite celebrity gossip site or ESPN. Budgets have some bad connotations – but bear with me!

While working on family budgets here are some statements that I have heard:

  • Living on a budget makes me feel poor.
  • I feel like living on a budget stifles my freedom.
  • Why would I want more rules in my life?

To be honest guys – these are the same things I feel when I do my own family budget. But the reason we feel these things is because we need a mindset change. If you are going to successfully change your family finances it starts with your attitude. A budget is all about 3 attitudes. If you get these ideas ingrained in your psyche you will be successful. Stock Photos

Attitude 1: A budget is a plan for each dollar you have at your disposal.

You only have two choices, you can manage your money or you can let your money manage you. There is no in-between. It is not about rules or restrictions it is a self directed plan for how the month will progress financially.

You create the budget, if you don’t like it, change it!

I recently heard a personal fitness trainer say “The best exercise plan is the one that is completed.” Guys, it’s not about the number of reps or how many miles you ran. It’s about finishing the workout. Your budget is the same story, it’s not about how many dollars you allocate to saving or how much extra debt you paid down this month – it’s about taking the time to complete the plan.

Attitude 2: Living with a budget creates wealth, living without a budget wreaks havoc.

The first few months will be hard. I can’t soften the blow or sugar coat it, you are embarking on a lifestyle change. But time and time again I hear it from the people we work with. When you get the budgeting process figured out, it will feel like you got a pay raise. Suddenly you won’t look back and wonder where that annual bonus went, or wonder why there is more month left at the end of your money. You already had a plan for the month and you controlled where the money went. As you gain control over the money you can put it to work by paying down your debt and then investing for the future.

Attitude 3: True freedom comes when you are no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Financial freedom is not when you work for your money. True freedom is when your money works for you. Until you take control and put together a plan for your finances you will not find the freedom you’re looking for. The only way I know how to take control is through the budgeting process. Whether you make $1,000 per month or $20,000 per month a budget is essential. It’s not something you do only when you’re broke – it’s a lifestyle!

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