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Top 5 Features of a Successful Budget

Presented By: EJ Cooksey | Friday, August 06, 2010 | , , , , , | Comments


Budgeting seems simple enough, but when put into practice most people suddenly realize it is incredibly difficult to make and stick with a budget if certain factors are not developed. Successful budgets, no matter the size or purpose, all have a few common denominators: reality, goals, commitment, focus, and self-discipline.

1.  Reality

  • Your budget needs to be tailored to fit your particular needs. Consider your income, debt, housing payments and utilities, insurance costs, food requirements, clothing requirements, transportation, activities for each family member, the ages of family members, and your particular financial goals.
  • Do you need to budget semi-temporary expenses or long-term goals? Do you have plenty of income or are you barely scrimping by? Look at your own situation and seriously consider what money needs to go where to meet the needs and wishes of yourself and your family. Don’t forget unexpected and once-a-year expenses in your planning.

2.  Goals
  • To create a successful budget you need goals. Having goals will help you decide where you want your money to go. Plan your goals at least monthly and yearly with some long-term goals thrown in. If it works for you, take your monthly goals and break them down into weekly and daily goals as well.
  • For example, if you have a goal of reducing your environmental footprint, then perhaps a logical goal for you would be to reduce your electric bill through energy conservation and to save money towards installing eco-friendly appliances or solar panels.
3.  Commitment
  • You could spend a month breaking down your budget to the tiniest detail and setting great goals, but if you aren’t committed to meeting those goals and maintaining your budget, then you will be wasting your time. Commitment is as important to keeping a budget as earning the supporting income is.
4.  Focus
  • Once you have your budget and goals in place and you have committed yourself to achieving them, you will start thinking of them every time an expense comes up. Breaking the budget on a new, bigger television will not seem so attractive when you know that doing so will mean one day less on your vacation in the mountains this summer. Focusing on your goals and your budget will keep you on the straight path towards a successful budget and achievement of your financial goals.
5.  Self-Discipline
  • Similar to commitment in many ways, self-discipline is the factor that allows you to focus and stay committed to achieving your goals and sticking to a budget. It is the factor that keeps you from buying a snack in the checkout line when you are hungry but your grocery budget is at capacity. Self-discipline keeps your housing budget at the amount you know you can afford, no matter what the bank or realtor suggests you can afford. It is a vital trait to develop, not only to maintain a budget and meet goals, but for just about every aspect of your life.
Working together, the factors of reality, goals, commitment, focus, and self-discipline will be just about all you need to create and stick with a budget. No matter if your income is ten thousand dollars a year or ten million, a fully functioning budget will help you have more, earn more, and live better.



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