“To accomplish any goal in life, it’s all about discipline,” counsels Brian Saranovitz, president of Your Retirement Advisor. “Your financial life is no different.” This financial advisor ought to know; his strong self-discipline led him to a professional football career before he began counseling clients on money.
In the process of building financial discipline in your life, budgeting is the very first step. In every other aspect of personal finance—from shopping to saving to investing to buying a home to retirement planning—your success will depend on your ability to create a budget… and stick to it! Nevertheless, according to a 2016 U.S. Bank survey, only 41 percent of Americans follow a budget.
“There is a magic about money,” says Tiffany Aliche, author of The One Week Budget. “When money is not planned for, tracked, and kept record of, it literally disappears.” Here’s a simple, step-by-step approach to how to make a budget.
Set your goal
Do you want to save for a down payment on a home? Or a beach vacation? Or simply start saving each month for emergencies? Whatever your goal is, it’s wise first to visualize the results of your budget and write it down. By imagining the results and creating a mental picture, you’re much more likely to stick to your budget and achieve your desired outcome.