We’ve all heard that we need a budget. You must put a budget to make your money work best for you and not feel broke. It’s the most challenging part of adulting; without it, you may feel like you’re just not a grown-up. But there are benefits to budgeting.
The benefits of having a budget are to prepare yourself for life (the challenges and the joys) and to put yourself in the driver’s seat. Knowing how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out gives you every ounce of control over your cash.
So, why do you need a budget? What are the specific benefits of budgeting?
Your Budget Assists in Goal Setting
To set your future goals, whether small or long-term goals, your budget will help you meet them. If you want to take a trip to Cabo for your 50th Birthday, saving money each month is ideal for preparing for that goal.
Knowing how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out each month will give you the inside scoop on how fast you can save up for that trip and whether or not you should pick up a side hustle.
This technique also works for short-term goals like saving up for a wedding next year or a prom dress in the spring. It could be Lasik surgery or braces.
Having a budget where you control every penny (often called a zero-based budget) will stop overspending in its tracks. Having a budget doesn’t mean there’s no fun spending going on. It just means that there’s a limit on how much fun spending you get to have each month.
Most people fall into the trap of using credit or debit cards for sport rather than necessity. So when boredom hits, or you’ve had a tough day, you may go shopping instead of taking a nap, reading a book, or cleaning the cellar.
The benefit of budgeting is to remind you of your goals and plans, allowing you to focus on the most important financial goals and putting a cap on spending for fun. Tracking puts overspending to a screeching halt.
Budgets Teach Children About Personal Finance While Leading By Example
We know that our money mindset is learned at a very young age. Think back to your childhood. What were some of the money lessons you were taught?
Were you always poor, never having money for a special toy or treat?
Did you hear things like, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” or “We aren’t made of money.”
Instead, teach your children ideas like the benefits of budgeting, saving up for what they want, and having money set aside for anticipated events or expenses.
Expose them to positive money habits. Show them how to save, spend, and donate. Read them books about making and managing money.
You can teach your children by example to have a better relationship than you were taught to change their adult lives entirely.
Saving for Retirement
Knowing where your expenses lie and where you can save or cut back to put more into your retirement investments makes you excited for the future. There’s something special about knowing you can have some fun and not have to rely on someone else financially in your golden years.
Having a budget now will also help you know how much you’ll need for expenses during retirement.
Taxes, utilities, food, gas, insurance, and fun must be considered when planning your retirement. Knowing how much all those expenses are now will lead you to understand better what your retirement will look like and when you’ll be ready.
Another benefit of budgeting is showing you how to beef up your retirement savings.
Prepare for Emergencies
Not only will having a budget help you save up your emergency fund, but it will also let you know where to cut back in the event of said emergency.
For example, if you already have three months’ worth of expenses saved and you lose your job, looking over your budget and knowing where your money is spent will give you a snapshot of the things you can cancel or cut out. Cutting the things you overspend on will help you stretch that three months’ worth of emergency funds to five or six months instead of three.
Preparing for emergencies will help you plan for unexpected costs that may pop up.
Pay Off Debt With a Budget
Having a budget is a roadmap for how you choose to spend your money. It helps to keep up with your spending and control overspending. It’ll give you a way to make the values and goals you strive for most come to light.
In addition to helping you guide your financial decisions, it will tell you where you can cut back, save, or add to debt payoff. Right there. There’s no second-guessing how much you can add to your credit cards and debt payoff this month in black and white.
Also, having a budget shows you a record of how much you’ve paid off. There’s nothing like watching that mountain of debt on something like student loans decrease every month in your budget.
Be Aware of Spending Habits
Understanding your spending triggers, how you spend money, and spending money is essential information when understanding cash flow benefits.
Evaluating your income and expenses can be the first step.
You track your spending, and journaling about how you feel while spending can help you determine your emotional relationship with money and change those habits that don’t serve you.
Budgets Will Help You Invest
We have all heard the saying, “Pay yourself first.” What happens if you don’t have a budget, you pay yourself first, but then you don’t have enough money for groceries? You might think of stopping all investments into higher education and retirement because you always need more cash.
Suppose you keep track of all spending, make sure bills are paid, and plan for expenses. You may see that you have enough for retirement, but you can bump up 401K contributions to 6% instead of 5%, with room to increase two percentage points yearly.
A Benefit of Budgeting is it Helps You Decide if You Want to Make More Money
If you see how much money you have coming in and it doesn’t support your lifestyle or wants, seeing that on-page on purpose shows you the path to a better job, your own business, or a raise.
The joy of money is that it’s not pie. Everyone can have seconds. It won’t run out, and you aren’t taking it from someone else.
If your career position doesn’t lend to the lifestyle you want or dream about, or worse, isn’t enough to pay the bills, then find one that does in the long run.
Budgeting Helps You Sleep Better
Without the stress of poor money management, you can rest your mind when you lie down at night. Being free from worry and anxiety is good for your health. Having a budget and controlling your finances will give you the peace you need for slumber.
If I have a spending category and a budget line for the electric bill, I know I won’t toss and turn, worrying the electric company will turn it off.
If I understand that I’ve been saving for the last ten months for Christmas, I can sleep better knowing I won’t go into debt for the holidays or not pay the mortgage because I need gifts for my family.
Being The Boss of Your Money Puts You in the Driver’s Seat
There is power in control, and that applies to financial planning. When you are 100% in control of your money, you will feel confident and affirm that your path is the best for your life.
Being able to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went is a great feeling. You can decide what you value most and where you want to spend your money to honor your morals and beliefs.
You are the master – and you decide how to budget your money.
Budgets Equal Organization
Once you have control of your money, you will feel more organized.
Deciding on the best budgeting method for you, whether a printable budget planner, a spreadsheet, or an online app, each appealing to a different type of person, will lend you the method to organize your money. You could work with zero-based budgeting or a cash envelope system. Finding one that works for you and sticking to it for the long term is a good idea.
In return, this will spill over to other areas in your life. You might tame paper clutter. Clothing overflow might find order. Your calendar might see more structure.
Having a Budget Puts You in a Better Mindset
Creating a budget mindset is a challenge for many who struggle—understanding that having a budget is not restrictive or suffocating. It’s just the opposite.
Having a budget allows choice and control. Changing your mindset about budgeting first will open opportunities to change your attitude about all things money.
Once you have decided a budget is your best bet for building wealth and managing money, you can see how money is your friend. There’s always an abundance. Money comes easily to you, and making more is simple.
A Benefit of Budgeting: Making Conversations Easier
When your daughter is begging you for the latest tech gadget at Target, having a budget makes it easy to say, “It’s not in the budget this month.”
When you want pizza because you’re too tired to cook this week, the conversation in your head could be, “We ordered out this week. It’s not in the budget again”.
And when your husband wants a new accessory for his motorcycle, reminding him that “deciding together on a budget for the month didn’t include new heated handlebar grips” makes the conversation more straightforward.
There is no room for arguments, and having conversations about money with family and friends is easier when there’s a personal budget.
Having something else to “blame” and making the budget a natural, living, breathing thing to turn to helps ease the stress of money management.
It also helps with the money mindset. Instead of saying, “We can’t afford it,” you say, “It’s not in the budget this month.”
Budgets Give a Sense of Safety and Stability
A budget helps you keep track of your money. There’s no risk in preparation, so there are only great returns on your investment to create and follow through on a budget.
One of the things that attracted me to my husband was that he’s had the same job for over 15 years and owned his own house. I knew he wasn’t wishy-washy and had a great work ethic. He had stability, and his strength made me feel safe.
This is why I have a budget and pull out my budget binder every other week. It makes me feel safe knowing I’m controlling our money.
It’s incredible what financial security can do for your well-being.
Permission to Spend
As a Financial Coach, I’m less about the lack and more about the abundance. My approach to budgeting is related more to what you value most. Deciding that life is for living and providing quality education for your children may come before a new car or a bigger house.
Or, a bigger house might be more important than trips to tropical climates twice a year.
A budget permits you to spend. Permission to spend the money you make where you want to spend it and how much you can afford.
And if debt freedom or early retirement is important to you, you decide where your money should go.
Budgets Decrease Money Fights
Money is the second leading cause of divorce in America. According to Business Insider, money is the number one thing couples argue. If you agree about your finances, your marriage will be stronger than you hope. You are deciding together on a budget to strengthen your marriage.
Understanding that your money goals as a couple are part of a team effort to live your best life will eliminate money fights.
Make sure you listen to your spouse, understand your spending habits and personalities, and work to make accountability a priority.
But most importantly, practice patience and give grace if this is a new venture for your relationship.
Having a Budget Makes You Aware of Trouble Ahead
Suppose you have a budget and are hyper-aware of each area you spend and how much you’re incoming versus outgoing expenditures. In that case, you have the foresight to see when you might be overspending in a specific area.
This will allow you to pull back and adjust the budget in other areas so you don’t dig yourself into a giant hole.
Also, a benefit of budgeting is seeing where other sinking funds or categories might need more cushion. Is the price of groceries going up?
Do you need to add more to your grocery budget? Will you need the money for a new roof faster than you think, and where can you pull that money out?
Budgets Can Make You Healthier
Less stress, better sleep, a solid amount of money for healthy groceries each week, and a monthly gym membership you use are all health benefits of having a budget.
Money stress can be the most detrimental killer of a good night’s sleep.
Getting rid of the reasons not to worry about money makes everything better.
I know people who have lost weight after going on a budget. They stopped eating out as much and started cooking at home. Healthy foods go into their body, and the weight comes off.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Budgeting
Everyone needs a budget. Whether in a cash-only lifestyle with wallets and envelopes or a fancy spreadsheet or paper and a pencil, find your preferred system and have a budget.
Make money management work for you, and enjoy the benefits of some organization. Don’t shy away from the budgeting process; you will always be in control of your finances at the end of the month. And you’ll be better placed to deal with those unexpected expenses that can cause financial stress when they pop up.
You might even have extra money available and fewer financial constraints than you thought once you have a good budget and use it regularly. You’ll also have peace of mind that financial stability can be in your future.