Budgeting is boring. There’s just no sugar-coating it—it is what it is. Still, I’m happy I finally learned how to balance a checkbook and stick to a budget. I’m now one of those people that tries to convince my friends to pay down their debt and live within their means, but it really is so important. Here’s why being smart with money is a must.
It’s your money. You go to work day in and day out. You get a paycheck once a week, twice a month, or maybe even once a month. You’re responsible enough to hold down a job, so why do you think you’re not responsible enough to handle your money wisely? It’s your money, after all. You know where it will be best spent.
You’ll never know how much you have. If you swipe a debit card (or worse, a credit card) for every purchase, it’s hard to know how much money you’re actually spending. There’s value in using cash but I don’t even do that. However, I do go online and tally up how much I’ve spent each week. I like to know how much money I actually have, and so should you. You’ll be way less likely to get a nasty financial surprise otherwise.
You’ll always be broke. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, you’re always going to be broke if you don’t budget your money. Your cars will need new tires or you’ll have to buy a new laptop or you just must book that last minute vacation and then crap—you’re broke. If you’d only budgeted a little better (or at all)…
You shouldn’t rely on other people. So what happens if you rely on your partner to budget your shared income? Do you really trust his spending habits that much? I’m all for joint accounts—I have one with my guy—but you still need to be responsible. Where and how is your money being used? “My guy handles the money” is not a valid excuse. That’s just laziness.
You’ll stop being so stressed. When you learn how to manage your funds, even if those funds aren’t very big, you won’t live in a state of constant financial stress. You will know how your money is being used and exactly how much you have at any given time. Stress springs from the fear of the unknown. Even if you know you’ve only got ten bucks, it’s better than wondering how much you have and then dealing with expensive overdraft fees, isn’t it?
You’ll get out of or pay down debt. Some debt is unavoidable. I mean, student loans are just insanely expensive and if you’ve ever had any major medical bills, yikes! But when you learn how to manage your money, you can limit unnecessary debt. You can also come up with a plan to pay off what you can’t avoid. Don’t think you can escape debt via avoidance. Your credit will be damaged and you’re going to need decent credit when you want to upgrade your car or purchase a house.
You’ll be independent. Independent women handle their own bills. They just do. You may think of yourself as being independent now but if you’re not on top of your money and don’t handle it responsibly then you truly aren’t independent. I’m sorry but it’s true.
You’ll have nice things. I don’t consider myself materialistic but I do have a few prized possessions. I bought them myself. Gifts are great but being able to actually afford things you want, without a credit card, is a really wonderful thing. Sometimes relying solely on yourself makes what you buy that much more meaningful.
You’ll be in a better position to help others. I don’t mean you should just give away your money to just anyone. If you do want to give gifts to others or donate to charity, you’ll be able to without stretching yourself too thin. And don’t think you need to have a whole lot of money to be a giving person—when you know how much money you have, you’ll know how much you can spare. Even a few dollars helps.
You won’t get ripped off. I’ve seen some of my friends make some pretty horrible investments. These were women who made a lot of money but didn’t know anything about saving. They wanted to make money quickly and so they put their money into the hands of some really shady people. Surprise, surprise—they lost their money. This won’t happen to you if you’re educated and on top of your own funds.
You won’t be a mooch. It doesn’t feel good to ask your parents/friends/boyfriend for money. There may be times when you need to do this but this should be an exception, not the rule. Taking care of yourself means taking care of your money. Don’t be one of those people that’s constantly pestering others for cash. It’s not cool.
You’ll be respected. I respect women who can handle their own money and who don’t get into financial messes. A lot of other people do too. When you learn how to work with your finances, you’ll also gain more self-respect. Isn’t that in itself worth learning how to handle your own money?
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