I just wanted to take a minute to check in. How are you doing? Are you finding success in keeping to your budget by tracking your spending more deliberately? Or are you failing to meet your goals? I was just reviewing my situation at Mint.com and noticed that, for the first time in the last 12 months (but likely ever since the last 12 months is all that is displayed by the App), I am on track to meet my budgeting goals and to have my little icon for the month remain green instead of the plaguing red of the previous year.
And if you’re like me, it’s about that time of month that you get another paycheque. Have you put your plans in motion? Have you used your carefully constructed budget to inform how much of your paycheque you’re going to put aside and how much you’re going to keep for yourself for now. If so, then you should be doing that with this cheque (we’ll start to talk about where to put that money soon). I’ve taken what I know I need and nothing more, and the rest has gone towards paying off my debt (most of which is associated with my home which also provides rental income). Once my debt is eliminated and I am directly investing my money, I intend to automate this partitioning of my income completely.
Remember, as important as it is to be aware of your retirement goal day-to-day, or moment-to-moment even, you’re not going to be retiring next week. It’s a medium to long-term goal, depending on how you thinking about those kinds of time-scales. I think my progress in sticking to my budget so far this month is due to two things, getting real about it and tracking it. The first sets me up for success, because there are few if any unaccounted for items in my budget that will ‘surprise’ me and derail my goals for the month. And the latter keeps it a daily mindfulness practice, the goal clear, present and at the forefront.
In life and in money, we generally are all aware of what it takes to get to where we want to be. It’s the acceptance and implementation of the things that will get us there that we more often fail to realize. We must find the consistency and stick to it more days than not (preferably most days for quicker, better, results). The longer you put this off, the longer you put off your retirement and the freedom not only to give back, but to live your life on your terms as well.
So tell me in the comments, how are you doing so far this month? Does your budget need to be refined again? That’s OK, but DO IT! Make sure it captures everything so you know what to expect AND so you can see where to make some cuts.