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Few people have found wealth without actively budgeting. Those that have, find that wealth can be fleeting, disappearing as quickly as it arrives. In order to build lasting wealth you need to learn how to budget.
Budgeting is a monthly process of understanding your expenses, controlling the size of those expenses and consistently spending less than you make.
In the past, budgeting was terrible. It involved a mountain of receipts, a check balancing book, copious amounts of wine and infinite patience. Thankfully we've come a long way from the torture our parents had to go through. There are amazing tools out there that automate much of the work making budgeting incredibly easy and accessible.
Here at Listen Money Matters we'll focus on the building blocks necessary to create a budget you'll actually stick to. We will also teach you an easy process you can follow so that technology does all the heavy lifting.
So do we.
Mastering Mint tells you exactly what you need to do and how to automate it all.
Budget once and get on with your life.
Budgeting is about affording the lifestyle you want, not what others say you should have. The concepts work the same if you love to travel, have an addiction to craft beer or want to save every penny possible. It's up to you to decide what to budget for.
The first thing you'll need to do is quantify your monthly lifestyle and understand its trade-offs. It's about understanding where your money is going and prioritize your spending. What's more important, a new TV or food for little Johnny? Once you figure out how much money you can really live on you can start adding in the perks.
Just because you can afford the perks, doesn't mean you need to indulge. A big part of budgeting is balancing your priorities of today with your priorities of tomorrow. If you love travel but can't keep yourself from spending $200 a month on shoes - you'll never make your way to Spain. Are you on comfortable with your progress towards retirement or do you need to cut back on fancy lunches at work?
Budgeting is hard because there's no right answer - you need to decide your priorities. If you let anyone else try to do it for you, it wont work because it's not what you want. Deciding is important but the real challenge is in breaking your bad habits (amazing episode). A big part of that process is in setting a routine and making the good decisions automatic.
Why do the work when the computer will do it for you? We're not lazy, we're just not into unnecessary work.
There's nothing wrong if you're into ultra-nerdy spreadsheets, we've got plenty in the Community. However there's something magical about the computer always knowing that Starbucks should be categorized as coffee or Shoprite as groceries. We don't just introduce tools to you, we show you how to get intimate with them. A few well placed hours up front can mean little to no upkeep time in the future.
In addition to breaking down the tools we also go over guidelines. There's nothing that will break a budgeting habit faster than analysis paralysis. So, when in doubt, feel free to copy what we do with our own finances.
To say we're obsessed with managing money would be an under statement. We've created hundreds of articles and episodes to share what we've learned. They range from the core concepts of budgeting to the sticky details like how to get your significant other on-board with your financial plan.
While we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast and listen to our episodes in order, if you're looking to cover your bases on a specific topic than we created these classes for you.