Although we exude an air of class and poise (HA!) characteristic of the upper-crust, Robert and I are very much bottom-crust.
Despite our entry-level salaries and mounting financial responsibilities, Robert and I lead a fairly comfortable lifestyle, thanks to our penny-pinching ways.
We rarely eat out, we buy store-brand groceries, and our biggest splurges are usually on power tools necessary to renovate Mustache Manor by ourselves.
One of the most important steps in preventing your money from sprouting legs and escaping out a window is creating a budget.
IDK, My BFF Excel.
Excel, Google spreadsheets or good ol’ pen and paper can help you wrassle that budget into submission.
I started by identifying the constant expenses in my life, such as taxes, health care and car insurance. Then I moved on to utilities, bills, gas and groceries.
Finally, I included the more flexible costs, like fun activities and personal grooming. While beauty products like shampoo and conditioner are non-negotiable, I don’t need to spend $35 every week to get my feet tickled by a manicurist while she gossips about me in a foreign language. (I can see you pointing and laughing at me, woman!)
A budget will help you differentiate between the “wants” and the “needs” in your life.
There will be times when you stray from your budget. A vet bill here, because your dog ate a foot of lamp wire (true story,) or a weak moment in Nordstrom Rack there, because it would be financially irresponsible not to buy those Tory Burch flats at half price.
In the wise words of R. Kelly, “My mind’s telling me ‘No,’ but my body – my body is telling me ‘Yessssss.'”
Even when your self-control momentarily wanes, or an unexpected expense arises, a budget will help you shift your funds and show where you can cut back in a different area.
Below is a spiffy downloadable Excel template you can customize to fit your personal needs.
This detailed description of your monthly expenditures, complete with a professional-looking pie chart, is sure to give you the confidence to tackle your bills.
Although you may fancy yourself a financial expert now, you probably don’t need to start wearing pantsuits or brandishing a laser pointer.