It’s safe to say that everyone knows the importance of budgeting by now. If not, then chances are good that you’re just getting into high school and just haven’t had to think about budgeting yet. Or, you might be living under a rock. Either way, budgeting is critically important. Without it, we would never know what we spend on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The difficulty is usually found in sticking to the budget, which requires us to take an active role in the budget process, rather than seeing it happen for us.
Although our smartphones and computers these days are amazing machines capable of more than even the inventors of the personal computer envisioned back in the day, they are devices that tend to make us lazy. Budgeting is one of those aspects of life where you just can’t be lazy. If every dime you spent was tracked for you, chances are you’d just end up ignoring it anyway. On the other hand, if you force yourself to note down all your budget items every month, you’ll eventually become so adept at doing it, that it becomes second nature. That’s the eventual goal: To lock yourself into a set level of spending that’s well within your means, and avoid unnecessary expenses that tend to bust your budget. So how do you find time for that?
Potentially the easiest way to find time for budgeting is to get back into the habit of using a check ledger. Stores hate them, because they hold up checkout lines, and customers don’t like them for the same reason. Ask yourself what’s more important, though- holding up a checkout line for an additional 15 seconds to make a note of your checkout total, or getting the people behind you out of the store and into their cars 15 seconds faster. I would argue that your budget is more important, as is theirs. They should be doing the same, and if they are not, then shame on them. Set a positive example, and hold up that line!
Checking itself is conducive to budgeting- much more so than debit cards and credit cards, so don’t be afraid to write out checks, as well. Since so many stores these days don’t even tell you what your total is (did you notice? Grocery stores are particularly adept at small-talking their way around your total bill, hoping you’ll swipe that credit card without a second thought. Then, you might even get your receipt stuffed unceremoniously into a bag, where you can only retrieve it later to determine whether you got the sale price on all the items you bought.
Basically, it just boils down to making time. It only takes a moment to note your expenses in a small note pad, so make sure that you do it! It could make the difference between a successful budget and a busted budget!