I’ve mentioned before that my dad taught me how to budget after I got my first real part-time job in high school. Budgeting seemed easy enough, especially because my expenses were fairly low and I had two goals in mind: to pay off my adorable new-to-me VW Cabrio and save as much money as possible for college.
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Fast forward 10 years and budgeting is not quite as easy as it was before. Now I have a family, a house, and sometimes we have a million goals we’re trying to save for at once.
I chose my major in college, which was finance, because someone I was working with told me that I had a real knack for numbers. He actually told me I should major in accounting, but I didn’t want to be one of “them.” 😉 So I declared finance as my major my first semester of college and never looked back. I took one personal finance class, several business finance classes, and numerous insurance and financial planning classes.
So you’d think that my budgeting skills would be out-of-this-world, incredible, amazing, you get the idea. Of course, they are not. I make mistakes, too! People automatically assume that because I majored in finance, I know everything there is to know about money and how to manage it.
That could not be further from the truth. The reality is that when you have other people in the mix, like a husband and kids, managing your money becomes doubly or quadruply hard.
When you are juggling making dinner for your family, running errands, keeping the house in order, raising your kids, and everything else that is required as a mom, budgeting is downright hard. Not because the act of budgeting is hard. But because getting around to doing it is hard. Because everyone in the family needs money in a different way and you have to constantly adjust your budget to reflect that. It’s exhausting, let me tell you!
You might think budgeting is not for you because you are terrible with money. Maybe you are a spender and so is your spouse! That can make managing your money almost impossible…if you have no desire to change.
But I believe once you believe that you can change your ways, it’s all uphill from there. A lot of people think they are “bad” with money, but I believe it’s a combination of no formal training on the topic and no true desire to change. Nobody is going to be extremely good at managing their money until they have tried it for themselves.
You have to put in the effort and hard work or it will never work out. You might even have to learn a few things. If you are struggling to know something, learn it!
For this reason I am so glad that my friend Allison, from Frugal on the Prairie, decided to write a book all about budgeting…for beginners! Allison used to be terrible with her money. But she decided to change. She even majored in finance just as I did. She took something that was seemingly impossible for her and turned it around. I believe it took a lot of learning and hard work on her part. She did not become “frugal on the prairie” overnight!
If you believe that you cannot budget because you are so terrible with money, then you need to change your mindset right now. You will never be good with money if you don’t learn a thing or two about it!
Fortunately, Allison’s book, The Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting*, is now available for purchase on Amazon (actually, it’s completely free until Jan. 3, 2016, so get it before it’s too late!), and it’s so easy to read and follow. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to keep money in their bank account or just needs a refresher to help guide them in their budgeting.
From this book, I actually learned so many new things, but the one thing I learned is that you should change your budget style as your life changes. Your budget right out of college will likely be a whole lot different from your budget in retirement.
So if you think you are terrible with your money, think again. It’s rare that you will find someone who is a born budgeter! We all have to work at it and learn some things if needed. I just encourage you to be positive about your money. Don’t expect your money to do things that you aren’t telling it to do!
Would you say you are terrible with money?