Why create a budget? A serial budgeter confesses.

By Janie Arreola, Unity One member, mom and grandmother

I confess, I have been budgeting my money for 15 years now. It allows me to pay my bills onJanieArreola time, take family vacations and plan ahead for retirement. Caution: people that do not budget typically suffer the consequences of not being able to enjoy life to its fullest. Why create a budget? Here’s my advice you:

  1. Be truthful with yourself. List everything you spend—I mean EVERYTHING, even the shoes that were soooo cute on the clearance rack. List income coming in as well. This is not the time to inflate your salary; doing so will only hurt you in the end.
  2. Identify your needs and wants. Yes, there is a difference! You may WANT Starbuck’s everyday, but you don’t NEED it. Distinguishing your needs and wants will help you make better choices and allow you to prioritize your spending.
  3. Use fancy software, if you can. Using software such as Excel really legitimizes the process of budgeting—it becomes a serious matter. No need to be a whiz, just try it. Also, Unity One has online bill pay that has helped me stay organized and consistent.
  4. There is always room to save, no matter your income. I tell my children and my grandchildren that. Money, if invested and managed properly, can double or triple with time. Remember, your credit union is always there to help you--every step of the way.
  5. Quitters never prosper; don’t give up. Budgeting can be difficult because money can only be stretched so far. You have to make it work, balance and reflect your income. It’s not easy, but life’s hardest lesson for me was not making payments on time and being unable to take family vacations because money was never available. But not anymore!

Finally, here is something to think about: my parents always said that if you love money it will never be available; therefore, treat it like it is not significant in your life.

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