Aug 11 2008

So don’t call it a budget, just get your expenses under control!

Published by at 10:43 pm under Managing Money

 “Budget: A mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” – A.A. Latimer

 

In case you haven’t noticed, the economy is somewhat dubious at the moment – unless maybe you live in the United Arab Emirates or a few other select places on the planet.  Clearly many people were caught off guard by the severity of the downturn, but it really shouldn’t be such a surprise.  Over the past 100 years or more, whenever money seems too easy, either to borrow or to make by speculating, rough times are on their way.  I’m the first to admit that I’m an amateur prognosticator, but I fully expected the good times to end much sooner than they did.  I would argue that in the U.S. we made it to the double bonus round before the levy broke.  So collectively we missed another opportunity to manage our greed and now many of us get to come off the mountain and enjoy the valley for a while.  Even the Wall Street crowd might feel the pain when their bonuses come in at half of what they were in 2007.

 

If you are able to appreciate the good that can come out of these tough times you will certainly be better off.  Like many others, including me, you might have been a little too caught up in the fever of the moment and possibly you lost sight of what should really be important in your life – like pancakes and bacon with your kids on Saturday morning or possibly a quiet evening at home alone with your significant other.  Money and its many trappings are appealing to most of us, but the quest for prosperity can easily overshadow the most meaningful experiences in life.  This is the perfect time to reset and focus on what you have to be grateful for.  If you have faith in God and recognize that all humans (with the possible exception of a handful of astronauts) have a rather parochial understanding of everything, you know that most of what we lose sleep over has no significance in the solar system – not to mention the universe.

 

Now maybe you are a little calmer about your situation, but unfortunately being philosophical isn’t going to help you get your finances in order – so get to work dealing with the situation at hand.  As a solid first step, sit down and dedicate adequate time making certain that your income covers your expenses on a regular basis.  If you have more money going out month after month than you have coming in, you must do something about it.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can continue to spend as you wish.  Stop the bleeding even if it means giving up something you are particularly fond of.  We all get sloppy sometimes and spend more than we should.  I only hope you will make the proper adjustments before it is too late – assuming it isn’t already.  Take a look at what Liz Pulliam Weston has to say on MSN if you need further nudging (No free rides: This means you).

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