I talk about budgeting a lot here. It’s...kind of my thing. But if you’ve read some of my postsaboutbudgeting you’ve probably figured out that I don’t do “regular budgets”. I only do good budgets.
How do you make a good budget? Whether you’re building a better budget or making a gourmet meal, what do you start with? Better ingredients. If your building blocks aren’t right, how can your budget be right? You wouldn’t make a third-date-dinner with stale ingredients, would you? Why do you keep making “budgets” without of date ideas and tools?
On this blog, I talk a lot about practical things - saving up an emergency fund, budgeting like a boss, and specific tips and tools for getting ahead financially. That’s all helpful stuff and I’m happy to provide some guidance and resources to help you.
Do you know why I’m really here, though?
I want you to feel less sh*tty about your money.
I want you to feel more freedom and choice around your money.
I want you to feel less panic and more peace.
I want you to sleep better at night.
I want you to stop living beyond your dreams.
One of the best ways to achieve these things, that very few folks talk about, is a one-month money buffer. This is also referred to as living on last month’s income.
How on earth am I going to save up that much money?
The good news is that you can do this - even if you don’t have tons left over each month. It will just take a little more time. So without further ado, let’s look at a few ways people have successfully used (myself included) to save up a big chunk of change.
In my last post, I (hopefully) convinced you that you need an emergency fund (click here to read that post if you missed it!). Especially if you’re in debt or have a variable income. So now you know what an emergency fund is, who needs one, and why they’re so important. If you were already on board, read on.
I bet you’ve still got some questions, though - namely how much you should be saving, where to put it, and how to know when to use it (and when to leave it alone!).
I don’t like motivating people with fear. I prefer to use the carrot rather than the stick when I work with folks. Get them moving towards things they’re excited about - freedom, being their own boss, peace of mind, sleeping well at night - that sort of thing.
But in order to get you to set up an emergency fund (now, not next week and certainly not “someday”), I need to put a little shake in your boots.
You’ve heard about budgeting. When you go down the rabbit hole of the internet trying to figure out how to get a handle on where your money is all going, you keep hearing, “get a budget!” or “try this software!” which, when you have a variable income, is like telling someone with a gushing head wound “have you thought about a bandage?”
What if there was a way to budget your money that worked great for variable incomes?
There is - it’s called zero based budgeting. It’s a different system than what most budgeting systems are, which is why it works so much better for this instance. Whether you’re a freelancer, working a steady job with a side hustle, in a commission based job, or are a business owner - you can budget in a way that actually works.
Are you sick of overspending, no matter what system you seem to try? What if I told you that I had a super simple system that would guarantee you couldn't overspend, and you could get up and running within an hour? Enter envelope budgeting.
Sometimes I get stuck. I get overwhelmed. I get anxious. I worry about how I’m going to get it all done. I convince myself that that’s it - I’ve had the last customer I’ll ever have and I’ll officially be outed as a colossal failure. I think that life is often like this, especially as a small business owner; huge ups and huge downs. Exhilarating moments followed by crushing self-doubt.
I see this a lot with clients and readers, too. I did a survey a while back and a few words came up over and over and over. Stuck. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Nervous. Depressed. Frustrated. Inadequate. Does that sound like how you feel about changing your approach to money?