Money Management

Unlocking Financial Freedom: The Power of Budgeting

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Hey there, Gen Z V’s!  I’m the Wellness Turkey, your guide to crafting your best life, and today, we’re diving deep into a topic that can be a game-changer for your financial journey: budgeting. Whether you’re a budgeting pro or just starting to dip your toes into the world of tracking your spending, this article is tailored for you.

Why Budget? A Personal Journey

You might be pondering, “Why should I bother with budgeting?” Well, let me take you on a journey through my own experiences. Not too long ago, I had the privilege of assisting a friend in her 40s who was grappling with financial turmoil. Despite earning around $4500 monthly, her spending was spiralling out of control, ranging from $4800 to a staggering $6000 each month. She had no savings, no emergency fund, and her spending habits were taking a toll. Every 6 to 8 months, she found herself reaching out to her family to rescue her from mounting credit card debt. This pattern persisted for a few years, and it was evident that it wasn’t just unhealthy for her but also strained her relationships with her family.

She sought my guidance to regain control of her finances, and I designed a simple Google Sheets budget tracker that transformed her approach to money. Now, there are other budget trackers such as YNAB (You Need a Budget), Quicken, and Mint, to name a few. But I find that these tools helped me AFTER I already spent the money, versus the Google Sheets allowed me to look at my budget and what I already spent to date BEFORE I buy something.

To continue with this story, as I delved into helping my friend, I also began tracking my own spending habits. To my astonishment, I discovered that I was spending a substantial $7100 – $8000 every month! While I had the means to cover my expenses, I couldn’t ignore the fact that a significant portion of my earnings was being funneled into shopping, dining out, and various miscellaneous expenses that added little value to my life. The realization hit me: if I continued on this trajectory, my savings and retirement funds could vanish before my eyes. It was a wake-up call that prompted me to regain control of my financial life. By using the tracker, I was able to go from spending $8000 a month to $4500 a month within 2 months. It was a real game-changer to see how much I’ve used every day and consciously not spend money that I didn’t NEED to. Today, both my friend and I consciously manage our spending, almost turning it into a game to stay within our budget.

The Power of Budgeting: Why You Should Begin

Now, you might be wondering why budgeting is crucial for your financial well-being. Let me lay it out for you:

Awareness: Budgeting shines a spotlight on your spending habits, raising your awareness of where your money flows. It empowers you to make informed choices.

Control: With a budget, you steer your financial ship. It puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to direct your money toward your goals, whether it’s saving for a dream vacation, buying a home, or building an investment portfolio for the future.

Financial Freedom: Budgeting isn’t about restriction; it’s about liberation. It allocates funds for essentials, savings, and even guilt-free spending. It’s your roadmap to financial freedom.

Debt Reduction: If you’re weighed down by debt, budgeting offers a lifeline. By allocating extra funds toward debt repayment, you can fast-track your journey to becoming debt-free.

Goal Achievement: Budgeting bridges the gap between your financial dreams and reality. It equips you to set and achieve financial goals, no matter how ambitious they may be.

Tools for Success

Ready to embark on your budgeting journey? I’ve got you covered. You can access a copy of my Google Sheets Spending Tracker here. It’s a straightforward yet potent tool to help you seize control of your finances. The key is to use it EVERY time after you spent money. So, for example, if you are grocery shopping, you first go to the Sheets on your phone to see how much money you have left in the “Groceries” column. Now you go grocery shopping and make a conscious effort to not buy anything you don’t need, stay within your groceries list, and after you pay and you get back in your car, bus, or home, you would enter what you spent. Same thing if you are planning to go out to dinner with friends, look at your “Eating Out” column to see how much you have in that column. If you are over-budget already, it’s time to kindly say “no” to a dinner out. It’s simple, yet not easy to do, but with your handy tracker, it gives you control and allows you to say no to things that don’t work for you. I hope this makes sense?

Take Action Today

Remember, budgeting isn’t about deprivation; it’s about making your money work for you. It’s about achieving financial peace of mind and creating a life you genuinely love.

So, what’s holding you back? Kickstart your budgeting journey today and open the doors to financial freedom. Your best financial life awaits, and it’s time to transform your dreams into reality!