Do you know where your money went? If you are not tracking your money with a budget then you may not realize the leaks that may result from your day to day spending. 

Is it your daily trip to Starbucks, or perhaps a stop at Dunkin Donuts, lunch with your co-workers, or the unplanned convenient store snack, every bit adds up.

So many of my clients are often unhappy about the idea of creating and sticking to a budget. If looked at it like a diet, budgeting can appear to be daunting and binge spending could look all the better. 

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Let me challenge you to consider that budgeting is simply a spending plan. It is a way to spend your money on paper before you receive your income.  This allows you to prioritize your spending, identify wasteful expenditures, proactively save and invest, and prudently manage your money. 

No matter how much or little money you make budgeting is an invaluable tool and you will not have to ever wonder where your money went!

Here are 3 reasons why it makes sense to create and commit to a budget today!

  1. Decrease Stress Levels – Creating a budget can eliminate surprises.  With a budget, you can start to plan for vacation with the family, gifts for birthday parties, unexpected car problems, replacing household items such as the roof, or paying medical bills.  No longer will you have to panic or wonder if you have enough money, you will have financial clarity and peace of mind knowing that you have budgeted for the expense.
  2. Tracking Your Money – There is something powerful about writing your expenses on paper.  Suddenly your whole financial picture is at your disposal to examine and you may be surprised by what you find.  When you break down the expenses, you start to see how the little things add up.  This process helps you to identify what expenses you can eliminate or reduce and repurpose to savings and investments.
  3. Achieve Financial Goals – Budgeting provides the pathway to assisting you in achieving your financial goals and dreams.  What are your financial goals? Is homeownership in your future? Do you want to vacation, pay off student loan or credit card debt? Perhaps you want to purchase a new car? Do you want to retire comfortably? Budgeting can get tough but having goals allows you to remember why you created the spending plan in the first place! Creating savings and investment accounts in your budget specifically earmarked for your financial goals will allow you to start planning and saving for the future!

There are many apps that offer comprehensive budgeting such as learnvest.com, mint.com, and everydollar.com.

When all else fails, you can always use an excel spreadsheet or paper and pencil. The key is to get started so that you can consciously spend your money. With the widespread use of credit cards today, many of my clients are unconsciously spending money.

If you don’t believe this, try this simple exercise. I want you to name the last 5 purchases you made (store and item purchased) and the exact dollar amounts of each transaction. Were you able to complete this exercise without looking at your credit or bank statements? I find that my clients who make purchases with cash are oftentimes more able to successfully complete this exercise.

If you need help with creating a budget or have questions on any other financial matters, please feel free to reach out to me at info@beckwithcpa.com.

Carletta Beckwith CPA LLC is a firm that provides premiere income tax preparation, tax planning, and financial planning services. Carletta Beckwith is a licensed CPA and CFP® and shares her extensive industry knowledge to deliver superior customer service and personalized attention to her clients.  To learn more about the services she provides visit www.beckwithcpa.com.

IRS Circular 230 disclosure: Any tax advice included in this written or electronic communication was not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by any governmental taxing authority or agency. 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this document should be relied on and you should seek professional advice if you are in need of tax information or advice.  This publication should not be a substitution for personal tax advice as every tax situation is different.  You should obtain personal tax advice from a Certified Public Accountant or other tax professional to address your specific tax needs.