Handle Your Finances Wisely | Financial Planning
After reading a short article, originally posted in the Grand Season Periodical, written by Sharon Hoelscher Day, I decided to expand on it in today’s blog post.
Most of the things we should be doing sound so easy – eat better, exercise, stop smoking (if you’re a smoker), create a life plan, and a financial plan and budget for you and/or your family. What is it then that keeps us from accomplishing these things. They challenge us to change our habits and focus our thoughts away from the computer or the TV perhaps? They require us to take action and a change our day-to-day habits. That would be my best guess at least.
So why should you track your income and expenses and develop a budget? In our current down economy, it’s even more important to know where our hard-earned dollars are being spent. If you’re having a hard time making your paycheck last until the next one comes in, creating a budget and tracking expenses is even more important for you. Avoid damaging your credit rating and having late notices coming in the mail by simply learning how much is coming in and how much is going out.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy chart or on any new-fangled software on your computer. It can just be a sheet paper with one column for income and one column for expenses. So where do you start?
Track your income and expenses
If you have some envelopes or file folders, mark one ‘receipts’. Be dedicated about putting those receipts in that envelope for a month or two. Be sure to include your monthly bills for utilities and such in with those receipts or write them on the sheet if you pay online. Even if you purchase something for a dollar or two, include those receipts. You’d be surprised how much those little incidentals add up to.
Develop a spending plan and/or budget based on your income, expenses and include any financial goals you may have (purchasing a new car, paying for college, new furniture). Don’t look at a spending plan as restrictive, but as a way for you to achieve those wanted items by allocating an amount to be saved towards them monthly.
Decide what your family’s most important financial goals are. If you’re married, include your spouse and even the children in the financial planning. Let the family know how much is being spent on things they may take for granted – movie rentals, cable, internet, cell phones. It should make them appreciate how much the things they enjoy really cost.
Don’t give up if it takes a little while to get in the habit of tracking your expenses. If you’ve not worried about it in the past, you will have to re-train your habits if you’re really serious about creating a budget and long-term financial plans for you or your family.
If you’d like more information on financial planning, visit the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s website at cals.arizona.edu/Maricopa/fcs or call the consumer information line at 602-827-8200 ext. 341.
I hope you find this information useful in finding your balanced path to success. If you haven’t ordered your book yet, you can get a soft-cover version for $24.97 or get an instant download version for a reduced rate of $9.99 and get going on your Journey of Significance.
Tom Loegering, Author