Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. With increasing gas, rent, food, heating oil and many other expenses, it is harder to make ends meet. Employees salaries are not rising with the cost of inflation, which is a whopping 7% to 9% depending on where you are in the country. It is expected to rise more this year and next year 2023 another 3.10%. So what can workers do about it?
Budgets Are Your Friend
Budgets are like nutrition plans: Everyone agrees they are a good thing, but one size doesn’t fit all. Most financial planners can help you draw up a financial plan, but if you don’t stick to it, it becomes worthless. Here is the problem with most business owners: they don’t have a budget and don’t feel that they need a budget because they make enough money to pay their bills. Many small business owners spend most of their money. When things get tight, they end up with a shortfall and end up going into debt. It then takes a lot of effort to get rid of that debt.
The Cycle Of Debt Carried On
Many business owners and employees copy their parents’ behavior. If the parents spend money impulsively and go into debt, their children will follow the same pattern. They continually ask their parents for money and the parent’s hand it over. Thus, the problem intensifies and debt has a huge impact on your family and business.
Changing The Behavior
To adhere to a budget, you first have to change the behavior of how you spend money. Take it seriously and take real obtainable steps to change your behavior on how you look at money. There are two categories in life for money. Assets and liabilities are the two categories. Assets make you money and liabilities take money away from you.
First, look at your credit card statements and tally up the total amounts that you paid and what you still owe. If you can’t pay for all of it, you are spending beyond your means. Credit card debt is not a bad thing if you use it responsibly. Once you are aware of how much you spend on credit, take a little time to look at what you purchased. Are the things that you bought or buy on credit a want or need?
Wants or Needs in Buying
First step in budgeting is changing the behavior on how we look at our spending. Is it a WANT or NEED? Needs are groceries, rent, car payment, etc.. WANTS are eating out all the time, buying things that are fun, entertaining, etc.. Get into the habit of asking yourself, “Is this a WANT OR NEED?” If you don’t have to have it to live daily, then it is a want. Most of us spend too much on dining out, entertainment and frivolous things that are not needed in our lives. This goes back to the wants and needs. What we really need is food, shelter, transportation, medical and not pizza, Chinese, dining out each night or renting movies on Amazon every day or week. All of those little things add up quickly each month to be $200, $500 or more of your budget.
Budget With Real Goals
When you create your budget, start with a simple template that you can follow and customize it to fit your needs. Start with the things that you need to live. After you settle on those items, add the wants as long as you stay within your budget. Here’s a simple budget template to use to get started.
- Rent / Mortgage
These are just some of the main items in anyone’s budget. Now, that you have a budget for your personal life. Create a budget for your business life and stick to both of them. You will find that with a little discipline, you will weather the hard times because you have saved money and kept within your budget personally and professionally. Good luck!