So, you are having money problems. You just cannot seem to make ends meet with your current income. You decide you need to sit down with a financial counselor. What’s his first piece of advice? Create a budget and start living on it.
Budgeting is one of the fundamental principles of good money management. Yet one of the chief budgeting complaints goes something like this: “It’s not that I’m opposed to budgeting, I just don’t make enough money to do it.”
A budget is nothing more than a spending plan. Anyone who earns money and spends it can create a budget. It is not rocket science. The secret to success is paying attention to the simple things. It is the simple things that make living on a budget easy.
How a Budget Works
Budgets do not have to be complicated. In fact, they shouldn’t be. A simple budget is more or less a balance sheet. On one side is a list of your income sources and their sum total. You do the same thing with your expenses on the other side. If the income side is larger than the expense side, you are good to go. If not, you have a problem.
A budget tells you how much money you have coming in as opposed to going out. The reason for putting it down on paper is to give yourself a way to track both income and expenses. By writing things down and keeping a running total, you can more easily control your spending so that it does not exceed your income.
Little Things Add Up
Many people who are new to the budget game are surprised to discover their spending habits. They come to realize that all the little things add up. For example, a lot of first-time budgeters never realized how much money they were spending on buying lunch every day. A few dollars doesn’t seem like much when you are standing in line at the fast-food counter. But over a month, it adds up to a lot.
A budget helps you keep track of those little things. Once you know how much those little things are costing, you suddenly realize how much money you are actually wasting. That leads into the next point, which is keeping track of the simple things.
Batteries Are Pretty Simple
The little things are all those little expenditures that add up to a lot of money. The simple things are a bit different. These are things that are easily changed if you just step back and think about them for just a bit. Take batteries, for example.
How much money do you spend on disposable alkaline batteries? If you buy new batteries once a month, that is twelve purchases per year. Now consider USB rechargeable batteries from Pale Blue Earth. Because they are lithium-ion batteries, you can charge them a thousand times or more. Instead of buying alkaline batteries once per month, you could buy lithium-ion batteries every few years.
Which type of battery costs less over months and years of service? The answer is obvious. If you start thinking that way, you will soon discover that living on a budget is easier. To be as blunt as possible, it is a lot easier to reduce the expense side of the balance sheet if you are not spending as much money on the products you buy.
Lithium-ion batteries represent just one way to save quite a bit of money. There are other ways as well. From cell phone plans to clothing purchases, it is the simple things that make living on a budget easy.