When was the last time you paid attention to your budget? I don’t mean a glancing look, I mean sit down at the computer or kitchen table and really dug into it ensuring it accurately reflects your expenses and spending? If you don’t regularly evaluate your budget and our spending, your finances are not running as efficiently as they should.
My wife and I spent the majority of our Sunday afternoon cleaning our home. As I worked through some of the tasks, I was surprised at how dirty some areas were (and at just how much cat hair had collected in the corners of the rooms). Cleaning these areas took some effort to get them to a state I was comfortable with. I thought to myself how much easier it would be to spend a little time occasionally cleaning these areas, instead of having to spend a lot of effort after ignoring it for so long.
Important Life Activities Can’t Be Ignored
One could think of many things in life that would be better served by keeping up with them by applying a little occasional effort:
- Cleaning: Cleaning something occasionally takes only a little effort. Cleaning something that is filthy takes a lot of effort – more than one might have time or energy in a given day.
- Car Maintenance: Ignoring the recommended maintenance for your vehicle at best makes it run less efficiently, at worst it could actually damage it. Spending a little time and money when services are recommended could spare you costly repairs down the road.
- Lawn Care: Have you ever tried mowing a lawn that has been ignored for months? The mower will get clogged frequently, and you have to go super, super slow. Much easier to mow the lawn when needed!
Ignoring Life Maintenance Has Consequences
Imagine what happens if you don’t pay attention to your expenses and spending in relation to your income. Here are some things to look for:
- Changed Expenses : Maybe the cost of electricity or insurance has gone up, requiring a decrease in your overall spending. The cost of cable may have increased, and it’s time to reconsider reducing or eliminating your subscription.
- Income Changes : You may have gotten a raise since your last budget breakdown. If you haven’t mapped out where it’s going, you may just be over spending and not realizing it.
- Bad Spending Habits: You might find you’re spending more than you’d like on some form of entertainment or groceries. If so, it’s time to reign in that spending!
Budget Maintenance Tasks
If you’re due for a budget sit down here’s a list of some tasks you’ll want to do:
- Verify your income, and change if necessary
- Check all monthly expenses for accuracy, making changes where necessary
- Evaluate all expenses, eliminating those that no longer bring you value, and reducing when necessary.
- Shop around and price compare services such as cable, cell phone service, refuse disposal and insurance.
- Analyze your discretionary spending for wasteful spending habits
- Evaluate your savings and investment strategy ensuring you are on a path to successful retirement
Whether you’ve been neglecting your budget for days, weeks, or months, there’s no time like the present to give your finances a good look. Maybe you’ll find changes that can be made, or maybe you’ll find it’s a well oiled machine!
How about you, EOD nation, when was the last time you looked over your budget?