Tightening your budget is hard on everyone in your household, but it’s something that really does need to be done. The last thing that you really want to have to deal with is not being able to give your family the type of life that they deserve simply because you cannot get your budget under control. It might seem like it’s downright impossible to get things done with so many things trying to eat your budget, but you can get it done.
Yet that’s not what this article discusses at all. We all know the steps that we need to take, but how do you handle the emotional part of cutting your budget down? The key here is that you will need to make sure that you actually step back to look at the goals that you have on your agenda. If you are determined to really make sure that you get from one phase of your plan to the next, you will really need to look at your goals hard. When you skip over your goals in favor of other things, you’re not going to be able to be happy in the long run. Sure, it can hurt cutting down your cable subscription or not going out to eat like other families, but when you’re debt-free, you’ll love having the ability to go out like you normally would.
In the world of personal finance, there are really only two avenues to really getting what you want. You can either cut down your expenses or try to raise your income. Raising your income can be difficult because a lot of things are out of your control — there’s just no getting around the reality of our world. However, there are things that you can do in order to settle the score so that it’s not the end of the world when you have to tighten the belt a little bit.
If you have children, your first mission is to make sure that you include them in the loop. You don’t want to just come out of nowhere and start talking about all of the services that you’re turning off without at least hearing them out. If you just make snap decisions, you’re going to lose their trust immediately. After all, how would you like it if someone just started turning off and taking away all of the things that you liked to do. We think that we’re doing well by just using a heavy hand in this decision, but that’s not the case at all. What you’re accomplishing here is alienating your children to the point where they won’t feel like actually cooperate with you.
On the other hand, if you actually open up and explain to your children that it’s not their fault, but that the entire family has to cut back on some things that you used to enjoy, things tend to go over a lot better.
Speaking of children, if there’s one expense that seems to be high these days, it’s definitely groceries. As part of your budget you might have to tighten the belt on grocery shopping. Now, this might seem cruel until you start looking at old receipts. How many times have you gotten a candy bar for yourself, and then the kids wanted a candy bar? That’s three candy bars. Even if they’re only a dollar a piece, that’s three dollars for your shopping run. If you shop twice a week, that’s six dollars a week going down the drain. Six dollars a week turns into almost 25 dollars a month, which turns into 300 dollars a year. That’s an extra monthly payment that’s going towards candy bars instead of your family’s financial freedom!
As you look through your budget, you can make those small changes that should yield some better results than just major tree-clearing. Major tree-clearing takes a lot of endurance, and it just ends up being hard to deal with over time.
It’s important to let yourself be emotional. These activities that you’re giving up have formed a huge part of your life for a very long time. Getting rid of them isn’t going to be easy. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you stay firm with yourself. If you agree to drop a service and reclaim that money, you shouldn’t just go out and spend it on something to make yourself feel better — pay the extra on your bills instead! It’s a great way to make sure that your debts shrink faster than if you were to always just pay what’s expected. You’ll cut through the interest and have more of your money go right towards paying the principal.
Just because you’re trying to get out of debt doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have any fun. There are plenty of free activities that you can do — walking, bicycling (if you already have a bike), swimming (if you have a lake nearby), or just being out and about doing these activities with friends. Board games, card games, and other activities can entertain the children, especially if you’ve had to get rid of your cable subscription. Let’s not forget that most cities and towns have a public library. Why not take advantage of it — all you usually need is your lease or a copy of a utility bill, and you automatically get a library card. That’s not hard at all, and it’s a source of free entertainment to tap into — why wouldn’t you want to make the most of your options as soon as possible? Get started today!