No, not that b-word—it’s this one: Budget. Are you still smiling? Probably not. I get it because the word “budget,” like “diet,” often conjures up images ranging from roadblocks to locked refrigerators—all reminding us of what we can’t do, what we can’t buy, or what we can’t eat. But no more. It’s time to reframe how we think about budgeting.
The first step is to choose your budget vantage point — roadblock or roadmap? If you opt for the latter, here are a few tips to help you put your new budget beliefs into practice:
- Get clarity about your goals—from where you want to go on vacation next year to how much you want to generate in retirement income in 20 years.
- Connect with your money by putting “pen to paper” to reconcile your spending, saving and giving.
- Be conscientious about tracking every financial transaction. Over time, you will see patterns in how and where you use your money, which can help you make even smarter decisions going forward.
- Calibrate your spending. Some banks offer these tools to customers who bank online, so you can see how your money habits measure up.
- Create a “virtuous cycle” by rewarding yourself when you reach certain milestones. As with most things, carrots often achieve more than sticks.
- Cut yourself some slack if you succumb to financial temptation. It happens to the best of us.
For more ways to set a budget that you can stick to, visit Women & Co. for the rest of my tips.
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