Money Matters: Budgeting Takes Practice

Budgeting takes practice

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear trips and tricks about saving money, the root of it all starts with budgeting. And it sounds simple enough to believe it. Make a list of all my monthly expenses and stick to those costs alone. The idea is that if we can spend less than our take home pay, we can save for a rainy day or that dream home fund. But, what these experts fail to share is that budgeting isn’t some secret ingredient the rest of us didn’t know about. Budgeting takes practice.

And a lot of practice. If you get budgeting down on your first time out, we’re donating your brain to science. Sorry, you don’t have a choice in the matter. I need to know how your mind works.

But if you’re like me and perhaps the rest of us, creating the list of expenses is the easy part. Sticking to it is the challenge. And something as trivial as dinner with friends can throw it all off kilter. Which isn’t fair, but real.

So, then, if budgeting is harder than it sounds because of surprise expenses, how can we be successful at it? Especially if we’re generating a second or third income stream?

Practice. Practice sticking to only the expenses you have to pay. Nothing more. If you’re the social butterfly but still want to budget, one of your expenses line items should either be miscellaneous or entertainment. That way you can include dinners out with friends and going to the movies as part of your budget. Ideally, you want to reduce how often you go out and spend money. If wasn’t made clear earlier, the whole point of budgeting is to save money. And spending money is the direct antithesis of saving money.

But back to the practicing of budgeting. The part we may need real help on: takes time and commitment. Chances are, we’re going to splurge on occasion. Or have an unexpected but important cost come up. It’s called life and she’s not always nice. So start practicing with weekly budgets. See if you can go one or two weeks without calling an Uber and Postmating lunch. Pay off a credit card to reduce an expense.

Want to make it exciting? The money you don’t spend, open up an high yield interest account, put the money you would normally have spent on frivolous things and save it for the end of the year. You can either treat yourself to something posh and outlandish or invest it in yourself or your future. Either way, you’ll have the money and the options to do so.

Money Matters: What Are You Doing With Your Tax Return?

So, after tax season comes tax return season or… audits… or money you may owe to the IRS. This is can be a touchy topic here, but bare with me. And I know lots of people will say, “If youre getting a tax return that means you gave too much money to the government interest free”. I don’t disagree with that statement but I’m not here for that arguement… yet. I’m here for those of you ladies who’ll be getting a return.

So, let’s talk about how we’ll be using that money and where it’ll be going. I’ve already received my state return and I had that directly deposited into my “Dream Home Fund”. That’s a bit of good news. If I actually see all of my $1,164 federal return, I’ve already decide to divide that into thirds.

  1. One-third will be split among my savings. $194 will be going into my Emergency Fund. And I’ll drop the other $194 into my “Dream Home Fund”. Really trying to beef up that goal.
  2. Another third will go into my business and personal development. Any remainder monies will go into my Emergency Fund.
  3. And the final third, $388, will hang out in my account for 30 days. If in 30 days I cannot find a real need for something important I need to buy, then it will be split again among my savings accounts. Or maybe I’ll start my Travel Fund. I’ll see.

If you noticed, I have only two real goals for my tax returns. To save money and to invest in myself. That’s really it. That’s all I want to do. I don’t need to buy anything for myself or my apartment. Im not trying to go on some splurge and live it up. No shopping sprees for me.

I made a decision not to pay down student loan debt, because I just feel right now while I am making steady payments on time, it’s important I beef my savings, both long and short term. And when I get my saving accountd to where I want them to be in the near future, I’ll change gears.

Point is: my money has a plan because I’m on a mission. What’s the plan for your money?

Money Matters: More Money Should Mean More Problems

Earning more money (get it, girl) shouldn’t mean more problems. Yet, as our income grows, so does our expenses, which is weird as hell. I mean, think about it. When were making $35,000/year we’re buying a whole lot less stuff than when we’re making $50K or $60k a year. Shopping at dollar stores and discount box retailers. We were going to thrift shops and we’re catching matinees instead of going to opening night shows.

In other words, we were budgeting.

Yet, when we start making more money, we budget less believing we can now “afford” it. 🤔 Yeah, about that because I know firsthand how good it feels to having extra dough lining my pockets and not getting anymore below balance alerts from my bank. I get it, girl, I get it.

But before you starting adding items to your Amazon shopping cart, plan for your future first. Call me “mama bear” if you want, but I’m serious. Take some of that extra monies and double your savings. Create a travel fund. Pay down your student loan debt. Increase or start your emergency fund. Then when you’ve successfully established these funds and savings account, goEA get that spring dress that caught your eye in your inbox. Order those shoes that’s been on your wishlist since August. Just make sure to take care the you-now and the you-later as not to have any unnecessary money problems that can catch you by surprise.

Unless they’re rich people’s problems, in which case…

Money Matters: Get You a Side Hustle

If don’t have a side I hope you’re already living your dream. And if so, 👏👏👏👏👏👏. Do you, boo!

But if not, why not? It’s been reported and polled and studied that, in U.S. at least, between 70-80% of people hate their job. I’m one of them!!! But unlike the bulk of the country who would rather call out sick than drag their crushed souls into the office Monday through Friday, I have a side hustle. I have a few, in fact. And I roll my eyes to those who do not have a side hustle at all.

Sorry, not sorry.

In all seriousness, how can anyone complain about a job they feel pays them too little and works them too hard not do anything about it? I never understood that.

Now, you may think that person can just start looking for another job but let me ask this: do you really think they’re going to find everything from that one new job?

I’m gonna go with no. And that’s ok. Its almost weird if a job is completely satisfactory that we don’t need to look anywhere else to fill our voids. Even a decent or good job may lack some soul-purpose elements.

But to work at job and not have a side hustle in the city is almost dangerous. We have rising rents, fees coming at us left and right, and for 61% of us (allegedly), no savings. I mean, why don’t you just get the lighter fluid and matches now?

Okay. Sorry, sorry. Too far. But, was it really?

2017 and 2018 were some pretty expensive years as Los Angeles made it’s way to being the 3rd most expensive city in the county. Being beat out by only New York and San Francisco. And I don’t see 2019 being a generous one. So I tell everyone who has the mindset to hear it, get you a side hustle.

If for no other reasons, for these two:

  1. Build your non existing savings or to beef it up
  2. To add more skills under your belt and become more you desirable to lucrative prospective employers (bosses who will pay you better)

In other words, a side hustle is the easiest and quickest way to increase your net worth, help you build wealth and develop and build skills.

Your job now may be about your career or a bridge to your career. But a side hustle is all about staying in the black.