Buffy McDonald, Reference Librarian, recommends You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham.
As the holiday season draws near, it is a good time to take stock and think of the things you are grateful for: relationships you have, goals you’ve accomplished, etc. Maybe a personal financial plan or savings goals aren’t at the top of your list, but they could be. Developing a financial plan that helps you to live the life you want could be one of the most wonderful things you do for yourself and something you will be grateful for all year long. If I have piqued your interest, consider reading You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham.
Are your money decisions in line with the life you want to be living? What do you want your money to do for you? Thinking of budgeting in this way is a lot different than how we normally think about it. A budget is actually a way to help you plan for the things you really want – a way of letting your priorities drive your financial choices. Start now funding the life you really want by reading this book and applying its four rules.
The magic in the four rules this book describes: The first rule is to give every dollar a job. Meaning, as soon as any money comes into your life, whether it is a paycheck or a gift, you decide where you want it to go. It could be to help pay for your mortgage or rent, food, emergency savings, or something else. So, for every dollar that you have right now, “give it a job”. Earmark it for whatever it is you want to spend it on or save it for later.
The second rule is to embrace your true expenses. Prepare a little bit at a time. This rule includes acknowledging that the holiday season comes every year. And, if you save in monthly installments for the amount you want to spend on gifts, the money will be there when you need it. This is also true for auto maintenance and repairs, post office box rentals, clothes, athletic gear, home improvements, etc. The trick is to save money every month to cover all of your expenses – your “true expenses”.
Next comes “roll with the punches”. This is a reminder that life does not always go as planned. Maybe inflation has increased how much you spend on food and gas. Having a budget will help you see clearly how much money you have and how much you need. If you need to spend more on food and gas, then take money from lower-priority categories in your budget or consider other alternatives. This rule gives you flexibility in your spending. As long as you keep moving toward your goals, you are succeeding.
Finally, the fourth rule is to age your money. (The first three rules help you to accomplish this fourth one.) This fourth rule is the essence of saving for the unknown. Aging your money simply means that when you have money coming in, you are not spending it as quickly as maybe you once did. You are “aging it”. You are increasing the time that passes between receiving your money and spending it. And by doing so, you are increasing your financial security and flexibility. An example: you are halfway through the current month, and you have already saved all the money you will need (including true expenses) to pay next month’s bills by the first of the month. In this case, you have aged your money at least 30 days. And happily, this is also the moment you have stopped living paycheck to paycheck. Congratulations!
I hope this book will help ease some of your financial stress. I know it has for me.