I can’t be out of money. I still have checks left.
It is an old punch line, but it is amazing how many people do not budget at all or fail to stick to a budget, if they start one.
That bain of the impulsive, budgeting, is critical for everyone if you want to buy a house, even for most wealthy people, before the purchase and after.
The daily paper of the ‘well off’, the Wall Street Journal, did an article on ‘The Best Way to Stick to a Budget’ recently (Monday 6/10/13).
There was a time when most everyone religiously used, tracked, and balanced their checkbooks every month. Remember those days?
Then debit cards came along and, I guess, that was the beginning of the decline of the instant record keeping that checkbooks engendered. It was harder to keep track of a ‘card swipe’ and harder still to remember ‘all those transactions’ when you got home. That is the excuse many used, including me at one point in my life. You know what happens then, don’t you? Hello NSF!
I’m sure there is a personality trait correlation to saving or not saving. Some are simply better budgeters than others.
According to the article, financial planners are divided on what is best for budgeting. Continuous tracking or short term tracking and reflecting?
One is like ‘stepping on a scale every day’ while short termers say people won’t keep up detailed, focused budgeting. They will fall off the wagon. The goal is to get you into better budget and savings habits.
I say whatever keeps you focused and goal oriented. Delayed gratification – doing without now for something later is at the essence of saving. It is also a foreign concept to many Americans.
One good thing the Great Recession did was bring back some old fashioned savings habits. I know. It is hard to do.
But don’t give up! In the digital age….there is.... digital help!
Mint.com. – Quicken – You Need a Budget – Pearbudget.com are all budgeting software aids. I’m sure there are more.
There are now probably some nifty mobile apps as well. Just tracking what you spend can be eye opening. Sometimes, simple changes in behavior can bring significant results.
What kind of budgeter are you?