Budgeting: Taking The First Step Toward Financial Freedom

Budgeting: Taking The First Step Toward Financial Freedom

Zach Conway: We all get stuck in patterns. Even when we intuitively know that change might better our lives, our instinct to keep with a routine takes over. We wake up and head out into the world only to repeat behaviors that sometimes cause us harm.

Money is the number one source of stress in our lives. It can destroy relationships, it causes depression, and it can create a constant feeling of anxiety. Yet so few of us ever do something to improve. We choose to avoid rather than address our fears.

Change requires taking a leap. It’s that first step out of the supposed comfort of routine. Close your eyes. Visualize a life in which you’ve reduced or eliminated your biggest stressor. That doesn’t mean you should picture yourself winning the lottery. It means you should see yourself living with less financial anxiety because you’ve chosen to make better, more systematized decisions.

So after you’ve envisioned a more financially secure life, where do you start? The first step toward financial success is the most fundamental aspect of a financial plan: and that’s budgeting. You need to systematize and monitor the flow of money in and out of your bank accounts. Creating a simple budget will help you understand your spending behaviors and how each decision can affect your bottom line. In finding harmful patterns, you can adjust accordingly and reduce fears of not having enough to pay for necessities or unexpected costs. To start, take a look at your cash flow over the last few months. Many online tools can paint a clear picture of how much you spend on things like food, rent, shopping, and travel. We offer clients a portal that aggregates and categorizes transactions from any connected account, regardless of institution. Users can set limits on each category and keep track of progress through the course of the month.

In our next podcast, we’ll discuss how your budget can incorporate a savings and investment plan.