The most significant thing you can do to take control of your finances is keep a budget. No matter your income level or stage of life, it will help enable you to do the most with your money and give you greater peace of mind.
An ongoing budget not only gives you a current picture of how you’re spending your money, but it helps you plan ahead for near-term things like annual insurance premiums and car repairs, as well as long-term things like retirement.
Some of that might sound like not much fun. But being on a budget doesn’t mean you can never do anything enjoyable with your money. It actually gives you permission to dream big and look forward to things like an exotic vacation. Have you always wanted to spend a week on the beach in Fiji? Start with a budget category, begin putting away money each month, and you’ll be amazed how soon you’ll be shopping for the best flights.
However, despite these advantages, nearly three-quarters of Americans don’t regularly follow a budget.1 Why? Because it seems complicated and tedious. If you’re not a bookkeeper at heart or a wiz with spreadsheets, it’s easy to give up.
But there’s a deeper reason people don’t consistently keep up with their budget each month. It’s lack of motivation. While most people know that keeping a budget is the responsible thing to do, actually sitting there and entering receipts is not very satisfying.
The solution might be found in a 120-year-old Japanese budgeting method called Kakeibo (kah-keh-bo). Think of it as a way to declutter your finances similar to how Marie Kondo would declutter your house.
Jennifer Nelson, writing for Marketwatch, explains that Kakeibo is a simple way to document your income and spending while reflecting on why your money is going where it goes.2
First, you track your income and expenses like with a regular budget. Then, at least once a month, you think about and write down the answers to the following questions:
How much money do I have this month?
How much would I like to save?
How much am I spending?
How can I improve?
The system has you divide your spending into four areas: Needs (essentials), Wants (pleasures), Culture (activities), and Unexpected (emergencies and repairs). These four “buckets” can be subjective. For example, you may feel strongly that your Peloton subscription is essential to your wellbeing.
This method is a great way to step back from the columns of dollars and cents to examine exactly what your money is doing for you personally. And to see ways you might better direct it to make the most difference in your life.
As always, when it comes to budgeting, planning, and dreaming “what if,” your trusted advisor is there to help you at every stage.
If you ever have any questions about your investments or retirement plans, please feel free to give me a call at 801-545-0696.
Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc., A Financial Advisor in Utah
11576 S State Street, Bldg. 1002
Draper, UT 84020
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