Starting a full time job after college is a radical change of life. When I started working full time in June 2013 the realization hit me; for the last seventeen years of my life I have been a student. All of a sudden I am supposed to shift gears entirely, and spend the next forty years or so being a working man!
This change, while daunting, brings many positive things. Foremost is money! Instead of scraping by on minimum wage jobs and spending money on tuition now you are raking in the dough! But along with this newfound income comes new expenses; student loans, car payments, perhaps insurance and phone bills for people moving off their parents’ plans, and maybe even a mortgage someday.
How can we balance this new influx of money with our new expenses? How can we make sure we don’t blow all our new funds right away and set ourselves up for financial success down the line?
The answer, as you might guess from the title, is simple: budgeting!
If you were hoping for some shiny new trick, sorry to disappoint you. Budgeting is the tried and true method for taking control of your finances. There is already a ton of info about budgeting out there on the web (click here) so I won’t get into the minutiae. Rather, I’m going to spend a little more time convincing you why you should budget and then give some overall tips in another post.
You would be surprised how many people don’t have a budget. So if you don’t have one don’t feel bad – you are not alone. The reasons people don’t budget vary; some people don’t know how, some find it too boring, some think it’s too much work, some don’t think they need to budget, and some people frankly are just plain scared to sit down and look at their finances.
If you don’t know how to budget, you are in the right place! Good on you for taking the time to learn how. You can read through the rest of this article for some tips and check out the link above for more resources.
If you think budgeting is boring… well you’re probably right. It would take a sick individual to get pleasure out of numbers and spreadsheets. Yet life is full of boring things that you have to do. How many people find some aspect of their job boring but still do it? And why do they do it? Because they get paid to do so! So why not spend a little time doing something boring that will pay you (in money saved)?
Fortunately, budgeting doesn’t have to take a lot of work. It can take a bit of time and research at first, but once you get things rolling there is minimal time required. I spend maybe ten minutes per week on my budget. That’s not a lot of time.
If you don’t think you need to budget… well, maybe you are right. There are some people out there that naturally have their expenses figured out, don’t spend much, and save a lot. But those people are few and far between. Let your bank account do the talking. If you are living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to pay bills then you’re the person that needs to budget.
Finally, there are some people who are scared to budget since that means taking an honest look at their finances. And than can bring some scary results (“I spent that much on coffee!” or “I owe how much on my credit cards?!”). While it can be scary, and even shameful to admit where you are at financially, budgeting is the first step to taking hold of your finances and making them not scary.
I hope that this post has convinced you of the importance of making a budget. As mentioned, you can check out the
google search resources above or my budgeting tips here.