Personal Finance Budget: Are You Leaking Money?

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Water is a great metaphor for personal  finance  and managing money. It flows in and out of houses at the same time, we don’t really think about it until we haven’t got enough of it, and no-one really died from having too much of it around. The flow and direction of water can also be controlled with plumbing and piping and we can make it go where it needs to go, when it needs to get there by the turn of a tap. In fact, when pipes burst, we panic and call in the experts for emergency repair!

So why don’t we panic while our lifestyles are leaking money?

The fact is that just like an unseen pipe leaking water – most people do not see or understand how their lifestyle is leaking money. Hundreds, or even Thousands of Dollars, Euros, and Pounds are leaking every day from millions of people all over the world simply because they don’t see it happening or don’t realize that it is easy to fix. Are you one of them?

People are leaking money when they are not controlling where it goes, when they can’t connect the separate credit card transactions to the total bill at the end of the month. Leaking money includes being manipulated into spending and buying by stores, kids, advertising and our desires. People are leaking money when they eat too much, drink too much, shop too much or spend too much. People who are leaking money don’t have a system to keep track of their money. Are you one of them?

Plugging the Leaks

The simplest way to plug your money leaks is to follow an organized system which brings together all your sources of money, your “money in” and allows you to break down your spending into all the different ways you think about money, your “money out” and convert everything to a monthly equivalent so that you can see the relationship between weekly wages and monthly bills.

Understanding and then managing the difference between these two totals are the first steps in plugging money leaks, and can form the basis of a personal  finance  budget, like the one automatically created by an online service.It is essential to capture every single piece of spending because it is the missing information which is mostly the reason for money leaks – not the big obvious bills. Your balance might throw up a few surprises, especially if you set a budget because your goal here will be to match all the money coming in to all the money going out, thus making this balance a zero.

Why?

Well if you have more money left over than you need, this money can be put to work for you instead of wasted in lifestyle spending. On the other hand, if you see that you don’t have enough money to meet your spending, it’s time to make decisions about cutting back to prevent rising debts.

Financial Goal Setting

If you find you ARE leaking money, you can take the following steps to address the problem, and there are 2 ways to achieve this.

  1. Set a target amount to be achieved and by when. Divide this by the number of months between then and now and this will tell you how much to put aside each month to achieve the goal
  2. Decide how much money you can afford to put to the goal, and multiply it by the number of months you have, and this will tell you how much you can expect to achieve

The problem with this though, is that it’s too hard – people don’t like to do all the collecting and calculating, the collating and the adjusting so generally they just don’t bother. They keep hold of the behaviours which cause their leaking  finances .

Online Budget Software

The main benefit of using personal  finance  budget software is that the mathematical calculations are all done for you, the system is worked out in advance, and the issues and areas to focus on are pointed out to you. Look for one which allows an adjustable financial forecast because then it is possible to look into the future and make adjustments and decisions in real time, to judge their likely impact.

And obviously, most people are visual and relate more to icons, charts, and diagrams, than boring spreadsheets and lists of words.

Ask yourself this question, “Just how much better would my life be, if I plugged all my money leaks?”

The answer does not only come from the math built into personal  finance  budget software, because the very discipline, the very act of becoming organized will enrich all of your decisions, not just money related ones. It is perfectly possible to have stronger relationships, better health, longer sleep and happier days, all from a simple system of managing money and plugging your leaks! The secret though, is to do something about it, take action and find yourself leak free and smiling!

Source by Mark Donnan

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