The start of a new year, new month or even a new day is a great time to look forward to what you want to accomplish. Do you remember the phrase “Carpe Diem” from that horribly depressing movie, Dead Poet’s Society? It means “seize the day.” There really is no better day than today to decide on who you want to be or, financially speaking, what you’d like to do.
Look Back Before Looking Too Far Forward
Before you get too far ahead of yourself on your looking forward don’t forget to look back. If you want to change your spending habits then you’ll need to be aware of where you messed up and on the flip-side where you did well. With that being said, what did you accomplish yesterday, last month or last year? How did you do financially? Take a good look at how you’ve done with your money in the past and try to identify any areas of weakness and strength.
How Have Your Saving and Spending Habits Been in the Past?
Did you save more than you planned, or did you end up with more debt than you had at the beginning of the year? Maybe you went on holiday and overspent or, on the other hand, spent less than you had budgeted for. No matter how horribly (or how well) you’ve done with money management in the past it’s never too late to learn from your mistakes and what you’ve done right.
Now Look To The Future
Now that you’ve identified areas where you’ve had difficulty in the past it’s time to take a look at how you can do better with these problem areas in the future. First take a look at your regular monthly income and expenses and pay special attention to any areas of weakness. For example if you consistently overspend on eating out try to compensate for that in your budget by either budgeting a higher amount for eating out or forcing yourself to eat in more often. By doing this you’ll be able to regain control over problem areas in your budget.
Try To Anticipate Unexpected Expenses, and Budget For Them
Don’t forget to take into consideration any unexpected expenses that you could run into throughout the year – and especially don’t forget the little things that no one really thinks of such as birthdays and anniversaries. If your car is pretty old don’t forget to plan for possible repairs or if you anticipate buying a new tv or other expensive items don’t forget to budget for that as well.
How have you done with budgeting in the past? Do you have any experiences you’d like to share? I hope that you were able to pick up on a few things. Good luck out there and… Carpe Diem.