Re-Evaluating Your Financial Responsibilities
Managing finances can feel like a total hamster wheel for some of us. Establishing and maintaining a relationship with money that feels comfortable, while also meeting the requirements surrounding our individual lifestyles, and still allowing for some shred of fun is a tall order. The biggest trick to staying on top of your money game, and not letting debt and other financial obligations overwhelm you, is practice and prioritization. Budgets are not one size fits all, and there are creative ways to manipulate yours so that it is a perfect fit for your needs. Trying to live off someone else’s budget template can cause stress and confusion, so when it comes to personal money management, it is best to not listen to, or try to replicate ‘The Jones’s”.
As you begin to reevaluate your financial situation, look at the biggest demands of your budget, and identify how they can be manipulated to free up some funds. Housing and transportation are two of the most common opportunities. Since a major move might not be in the cards, or even desirable, look at your vehicle situation and play with some numbers. Selling your car and downsizing can put money in your pocket quickly but take some time to research how to sell yourself so you can get top dollar.
You can research your vehicles valuation to give you an easy tool to compare offers and track your vehicles value across these online sales services. Understanding what your car is worth and how to collect on that amount is going to make the extra steps in the process worth it. Realizing what this sale can provide you in terms of lump sum cash, as well as how it will affect the purchase of your next vehicle beforehand will help you determine if this is going to be a worthwhile move for you to make towards redistributing your budget.
Tracking expenses is a great first step to take for budget beginners. Physically being able to see where all your dollars and cents are being spent will help you recognize habits and begin to develop methods to change them for the better. Having the added accountability will break you from a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle so you can create some cushion for yourself to limit restrictions that this kind of relationship with money can impose on you. A common misconception about a budget is that it is restrictive, which is not totally false.
However, the restrictions of a budget will open your eyes to what you can and cannot afford, and often times, with a few changes in your habits you will see that the inclusion of a budget in your lifestyle opens your eyes to being able to successfully afford more. For example, if daily take out coffee is part of your routine, spending that small amount daily without tracking it allows the money to evaporate unaccounted for. But what you do not realize is that small amount spent daily, can add up, and even cutting back on this daily treat slightly could free up hundreds of dollars annually.