Even before I became a financial counsellor it seemed that I was fixated with budgeting. I think it’s because my husband and I were so hopelessly broke before we got married. I watched a lot of TV shows and read books on budgeting, wealth management and how to live on a limited income.
We’ve made some mistakes with our money, like everyone else, but I chalk it up to learning experiences. One time, we bought a brand new Volkswagen Golf… my husband is 6’5”, that didn’t last long, we traded it in for a huge loss and it took us 3 years to make up for it.
Now that I’m working in the field I’m exposed to money management on a daily basis. I pick up tips and tricks through professional development and even learn a thing or two from my clients. Money management is in my face 24/7.
Sometimes when I review strategies or money management techniques, people sometimes ask how much time per month I devote to budgeting. I like to use my house cleaning scenario; there really are 2 methods of cleaning the house.
- You do little to no work during the week and do a massive 3 hours clean on the weekend when you’ve finally decided it gets clean or you burn it to the ground.
- You do a little cleaning every day, that’s it!
I prefer method 2, and it works well with money too - every day I check in with my money. I might review my budget, make sure my planned bill payments are set out and record my transactions from the previous day in my money tracker. Fifteen minutes tops and I can go on with my day. It allows me to maintain my money management so that I don’t have to cram it all in on the weekend.
At first it might be more like 20 minutes. If you’re unfamiliar with budgeting and money management it may take a little longer. In the beginning I took copious amounts of time staring at my bank statement. As time went on, and I became more familiar with it, it became more and more efficient.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. We all do, and it’s a normal learning process. Start the next day fresh and forget what happened yesterday. Budgeting and money management is an ongoing process and is a job, like house cleaning, that’s never “done”.