Stressed Over Tight Budget?
Joan Jerkovich - April 1, 2014 7:00 am
We are on such a tight budget that whenever we go out as a family for dinner and a movie I leave wondering if we shouldn’t have just stayed home to eat and watch a movie on TV. It’s fun to go out but it also stresses me because we really can’t afford it. How do I decide what to do when money is so tight?
When you’re struggling to make the dollars stretch, you can diminish the anxiety you feel by sitting down and making a plan for what amount you can spend on entertainment. I know its not fun to have to work within a budget, but if you don’t, and find that the $60 you spent on an evening out was needed to pay the rent, you will feel stress. Write down all the money you have coming in on one column on a sheet of paper. Then, on the opposite side, write down all the fixed expenses you have such as rent, utilities, cell phone, cable, food. Give them an estimate if need be. I believe in holding back a percentage for an “emergency fund”, so add that in to your expense column. Now do the math and see what you have left. Once you’ve done this you will have a clearer picture of how much “discretionary” income you have left to use for entertainment or whatever fun things you enjoy in life.
Budgets aren’t fun, but when you’re as stretched as you sound to be, they are even more necessary. Think about working with a budget and living within what you can afford as a huge way you can relieve your stress. How often have you stressed about not having enough money to pay your bills? This will take a conscious effort on your part to keep your budget in mind and not just go spending money because you have a few dollars in your pocket or just got paid. This mindfulness is also the way that people get out of debt. You may have to find inexpensive ways to entertain your family until you can increase your income and decrease your debt.
When you’re trying to make your budget stretch, also keep in mind that besides focusing on spending, you need to keep your focus on how you can earn more. Write down strategies to increase your income. Commit to bettering your situation by getting the education or training needed to get a better job. Go out and look for a better paying job or one with more opportunities for advancement. Call me, “Your Life Coach”, and we can strategize together ways to improve the financial health of your family!
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- What information did you get from preparing a budget?
- How can you increase your income and decrease your spending?
- What promise can you make to yourself and your family to work together to improve your financial situation?
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