In running any business two things are quite essential, the first being, managing your time, and the other, managing your finances!! Since we’ve already covered how to go about managing your time in an earlier blogpost (Time – Our Most Valuable Asset), we would like to turn our attention in this blogpost to the part about ‘Managing Your Finances’!
We got married in late December of 2011 🙂 Since then we’ve always understood the importance of managing our finances, because as the stats would tell you, one of the leading causes of marital difficulties is money problems, a.k.a. improper management of finances 🙂 Thankfully, very early on we came across a budgeting software that was available in the market, and we’ve been using that ever since. But wait a second!! We’re getting ahead of ourself, we didn’t tell you what budgeting is all about, but we guess that most of our readers here have come across that word before, “The ‘B’ Word” – Budget. And we guess that the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear that word is, “Oh boy, that’s just too restrictive. We are gonna have to say ‘No’ to a whole lot of fun things.” Well, take it from us, we understand, we do, we really do!! But, it’s just not true 🙂 Budgeting for us has been the most freeing and liberating thing that we’ve ever done, and we still do. I will tell you why, please read on 🙂
In the first week of each month, we sit together, Tisha and me, and on paper we write down where all our money should go, every last note. So even before we’ve actually spend anything, on paper everything is already spend. Of course, budgeting requires discipline, you’ve got to be at it every month without fail, and it’s not enough that you’ve got everything down on paper, you’ve got to follow through, and make sure that you spend according to your budgeting plan. The discipline is acquired over time, none of us are born this way, 🙂 give yourselves some grace!! It is alright, if every now and then you overspend and go beyond your budget, but that should be rare, and when you do, try to balance your account by moving in money from some other category, but always do that with your spouse’s consent (if you are married, always budget together with your spouse rather than going alone, it helps to build accountability and you also get to build on some relationship credits 🙂 ). This has been really freeing and liberating for us because it has helped us to prioritize our ‘needs’ over our ‘wants’. ‘Needs’, meaning those things which are essential and which we can’t do without; ‘Wants’, on the other hand are those things which are non-essential, which we can pretty much survive without; to give an example from our own household, in the ‘Grocery’ category, ‘Milk’ is an essential, it is a ‘need’, but ‘Cheese’ on the other hand is a ‘want’, now the ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants’ may vary from household to household, but the important thing for our consideration is the whole topic of ‘Prioritization’. It really helps to apply this principle to our entire life, because friends, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be spending the whole of your life running after your ‘Wants.’ But, with the help of a budgeting plan, you will be in better position to pursue some of your ‘Wants’.
Now, moving on to the ‘How to?’ of budgeting, as we had mentioned before we use a software for our budgeting plan, and it’s called YNAB (You Need A Budget) Early on, we used to rely only on this software alone for our budgeting plan, but these days, we use a combination of a written budget and YNAB. Why you make ask do we do that? Well, what we’ve found is that, we tend to be more focussed and driven whenever we’ve got something written down, pen on paper!! But, then the software really help us to keep track of all our expenses till date, and lets us know how much money we have for each category. But it’s really up to you, you can choose to do it as we do, or you can just choose any one and go forward with that, whichever makes sense to you. But the important thing is to follow through, stay the course!! For our written budget plan, we use the Monthly Cash Flow form that you can download for free from Dave Ramsey’s site.
So, what are you waiting for? 🙂 Go on over there!! Take the first steps and set up your first budget plan and then build from there. You might also want to give the budgeting software YNAB a try, they allow for a free 34 day trial, after that you will have to pay for an annual subscription to use the software. Trust us putting this plan in place will save you from a lot of unwanted stress and worries, and free you to focus on what really matters!!