What comes to mind when you think of creating a budget? For many people, even the thought of putting one together is unappealing. However, there’s another more positive way to look at budgeting that may surprise you. Budgeting can be a way to gain more control of your finances and empower you to do more of what you want to do in life. So while making a budget does require forethought and discipline—and may require you to reign in impulse purchases—it pays off by putting you in the driver’s seat. Over time, a budget has the power to:
1. Let you decide. When you allocate dollars as part of a budget, you give yourself a chance to be thoughtful about where your money is going and to make adjustments, if needed. For example, if you are shocked by how much you’re spending dining out or buying new clothes, you can curtail spending in those areas. Ultimately, knowing your spending patterns gives you the power to put your dollars toward the things that mean the most to you, and help you reach your long-term goals.
2. Take the pain out of daily decisions. Daily temptations to overspend become easier to navigate when you have a framework and guidance in black and white. Setting a budget equips you with the power to say “yes” or “no” to a purchase without guilt. You’ll be able to see what’s within your price range and get a clear view of how each purchase will impact your savings plan. The more specific your budget is, the better.
3. Make it easier to see the value of every dollar. When you’re cavalier about your spending, you’re discounting the effort it takes to earn money. In contrast, when you consider everything that goes into earning a paycheck, and the expenses you’re incurring for your home, food, clothing, entertainment and so on, you’ll have a clearer picture of your daily financial life. It’s also important to consider the potential long-term benefits of investing some of your hard-earned savings. It’s likely this will bolster your resolve even more.
4. Help you make larger financial goals possible. Large purchases can seem out of reach when you’re not tracking your spending patterns. Creating a budget gives you a road-map to follow, making it clear what trade-offs are possible if you’d like to reach your goal sooner.
No matter what your net worth is, a budget can be a useful tool to help you be a good steward of your finances. Your financial advisor can help you examine your spending and recommend investment strategies to keep you on track with your financial goals.
William “Drew” Watson CFP® is a Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Owensboro, KY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for more than 20 years. To contact us by phone please call 270-684-8424 or by mail at 111 West 3rd St, Owensboro, KY 42303. You may also visit our website at www.williamawatson.com.