Budgeting

Does that word make you break in a cold sweat?  Do you have visions of missing out on things because it is “not in the budget”?  Do you have a business budget and NOT a household budget?  Or vice versa?

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I have to admit that this word used to bring me to tears – lots of mixed emotions. As a grant writer & program person for over 25 years, budgets were my friend. Budgets kept me on track and allowed our funders to know exactly where their money went.  I was good at making budgets and sticking to them!

Now, move HOME where that word took on a totally different meaning.  Why is it that something that made perfect sense at work NEVER worked at home? Am I the only one? Creating a list of expenses and knowing what to pay was the easy part, living within the budget was the tough part. There were lots of excuses – single mom, didn’t make enough, and the list goes on. In reality, I never learned (until recently) how to live within my means. Credit cards were my friend and I used them a lot to provide for my daughter (wants as well as needs).

Fast forward – daughter grown and still have credit card debt with new excuses.  With ALOT of patience from hubby, I am NOW learning to live within my budget. See you can teach an old “dog”, new tricks.

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Several years ago, I took Dave Ramsey‘s financial class and it was AWESOME.  I was still working full-time getting a regular paycheck and I made it work.  Then I went from full-time work to my own business.  Should have been a no-brainer, right?  I am slowly adjusting to receiving commission checks from my business instead of the bi-weekly checks. Not an easy adjustment but this “old dog” is re-learning a new trick!   Mind you, I have a hubby who is debt-free and LIVES by budgets. We have only been married 3 years and I have decided to be solely responsible for any past debt. YIKES!

One of the biggest problems that I now have with Ramsey’s envelope system was that I make stops without planning – I know not good right?  If I want to stay on budget, I would love to have the envelopes with me so I only spent what was in the envelopes.  So now instead of carrying envelopes, I carry Thirty One’s All About the Benjamin Wallet with dividers in it for: groceries and gas since these are the typical unplanned stops.  My credit card slots are empty with the exception of a occasional gift cards and my business debit card.

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As for my business, I am applying my grant writing skills to my direct sales business.  Here are some tips:

  • Know your averages: It’s important that you know not just what your average income is but also what your the average expenses are.
  • Know your fixed and variable costs: These are the things that you pay for each month, quarter, or year?
  • Write it all down:  TRACK!!!  See “tracking” is vital in all areas of your life – business, personal and weight loss.  It is essential that you keep track of the money coming in and going out from your business.
  • Be conservative in your estimates: It’s important to have some extra income set aside for unanticipated expenses, so you have some flexibility in your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it is with your personal budget or your business budget. Find a system that works and stick with it.  If you have debt, it will take time and patience to reach financial freedom but it can be done.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

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