Beginning to Budget: Define Your Goals

Beginning to budget is challenging. I found it overwhelming when I started my journey; where do I start? Many 25-year-olds have an extensive amount of student loan debt, are renting overinflated apartments and savings accounts with balances near zero. Eventually I decided enough was enough but didn’t know where to start off. I definitely fell prey to some of the classic pitfalls: non-consistency, disorganization and a lack of commitment and vision. Here are some things I found that helped me to get on track.

  1. Write down some definitions. When starting this journey it will help you to define your end goal and vision. Define financial happiness, financial freedom as you want it to apply to your life. Most importantly, define what you want to feel when you are “financially free”. Despite what we like to think, emotions are the main driving force of human behavior. These definitions will help you to focus on what you want to accomplish.
  2. Look at your options. There are many different ways to accomplish what you are doing, so it is important to consider all the options; think about what you need vs want and most importantly WHY. Every choice you make is one step forward or backward in the direction of your goal
  3. Choose what is best for you. It is okay to try different things AT THE SAME TIME. A lot of “financial gurus” will recommend focusing on one aspect per month and taking it one at a time. While this works for some people, I have found that it can be more costly, and lacks immediate results. I have found that giving a shock to the system and attacking multiple avenues at once can be rewarding. You can get results pretty quickly this way, which will help you feel accomplished allowing you to snowball your growth and achievements.
  4. Resilience. Keep fucking going. It’s going to be a long ride to your goal. There is no question there will be a lot of hard work and sacrifices along the way. What’s important to remember is that the cost (time, money, stress, etc) is always lower when these things are maintained vs when they are stopped and started. Because of this it is important to stay committed to your goals consistently, no matter how difficult.

Taking some time to review your wants, needs, goals and desires will ultimately lead you to a more financially free lifestyle as you define it. I had previously started and stopped multiple times with no tangible results until I took these 4 steps. By following these steps, in a years time, I have purchased a house, gained financial stability with my daily expenses without sacrificing my luxuries and paid off 3700 on my student loans. This method allowed me to achieve balance between my happiness now and my future happiness.

This is not official financial advice. Please speak with your official financial advisor for more options.

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