We are a multi-passionate group of people here at The Maker’s Collective, and we each bring our own set of superpowers to the table – one of mine happens to be personal finances. I absolutely love talking about money, and since we know it is one of the biggest stressors people have in their lives, we thought it might be time to create some content around it for you, and we’re starting with everyone’s favourite b-word…budgeting.
So, You Want To Start Budgeting?
If you’re still reading this right now I can only assume it’s because you are ready to start getting your financial shit in order, and creating a budget is first on the list. So, I’ll start this off then by saying well done you!
It’s not easy to admit you need a little help, and building and sticking with a budget is hard – if it weren’t everyone would have one and Canadians wouldn’t have, on average, $30,000 in debt above and beyond mortgages (isn’t that nuts?!). We’re not here to talk about debt though, that’s a topic for another post. Instead, let’s get into what a budget is and isn’t.
Generally speaking, every month money should be coming in (income) and going out (expenses), and when we don’t have a system for tracking it we can end up in situations where we’re spending more than we’ve earned. So, at its most basic level, a budget is a living document or tool that you can use to track your income and expenses. I say that it’s ‘living’, because budgeting should never be a set and forget it exercise. It’s something you should be revisiting often, especially if you’re just starting to use one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t think that budgeting should take over your life, but to have a truly effective budget there needs to be tracking. It’s not enough to set your income and expenses once, you have to follow up at the end of the month by tracking what you actually made and spent to see how you did. You may realize that the plan you’ve set for yourself isn’t an accurate reflection of your actual spending habits, which is FINE. It just means you will need to make adjustments so your expenses stay inline with your income.
Which brings me to my next point, what a budget isn’t. It’s NOT a set in stone document or a tool to elicit shame. I know we covered this when I called it a ‘living document’, but this is a really important aspect of making budgeting a part of your life, so it bears repeating. When you track at the end of the month you may find that you didn’t hit your targets – you may have over or under spent in certain categories. I need you to know that this is TOTALLY NORMAL and ABSOLUTELY FINE.
One of the biggest reasons people quit budgeting is because they don’t stay inline with their goals and they think they’ve failed. When you think you’ve failed at something you tell yourself horrible stories about how you’re not good at that thing and that it isn’t for you – and then of course you quit. No one likes doing things they aren’t good at, right?
I’m here to tell you that budgeting isn’t a science, you will suck at it and it will feel like a lot of work – at first. I want you to keep these points top of mind as you start down the path of budgeting and creating good financial habits. You have to set a plan, embrace the suck, do the work, and stay the course. Change will happen and you will reach your goals, but you have to stick with it – period.
How To Build A Budget…And Stick With It
To help you get started, I’ve created an eBook called How To Build A Budget…And Sick With It. In it I walk you through my exact process for building a budget, and show you exactly what I did when I was creating a budget for the very first time – including providing some of my answers as examples in the exercises 🙂
Every exercise I would do with you one-on-one is in this book, and if you follow the steps and do the work you will have everything you need to create your own budget and to start tracking your numbers.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Finding Your Why
- Setting Your Goals
- Figuring Out Your Numbers & Prioritizing/Categorizing
- Deciding On Your Budgeting System & Starting To Track
- Making Adjustments & Having Accountability
It’s entirely self-paced and self-directed, so it’s up to you to complete the exercises and to take everything you learn and put it into action. I want you to know though that I am rooting for you, and that I’m excited for you. You’ve taken the first step on your way to financial betterment and that’s pretty fucking awesome.
Now, get to it!
NOTE: This blog is adapted from the opening of the eBook. If you’ve read this before downloading the eBook, you can skip right to the exercises!