When someone says the word “budget” what goes through your mind? Do you imagine deprivation, hardship, and a miserable existence? Do you experience images of hungry families, huddled around a table with gloomy faces, despair and troubles on every side?
If you find yourself cringing at the thought of restricting your spending, then it’s worth your time considering why you feel this way. This is especially true if you are considering buying your first home. Trust me on this. If you already own one, or have owned one in the past, then obviously I’ll be “preaching to the choir”, but please, feel free to hang around just the same!
For many years, the images I described earlier were exactly what went through my mind! Sure, I had a bit of an idea that I needed to track my spending, not overspend in certain areas, etc, but it wasn’t until I married a brilliant “budgeteer” that I began to realize it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” proposition. You can still “have your cake and eat it too”, just not every day (otherwise the cake runs out)!
First time home buyers are given a lot of great advice from the professionals they encounter as they move through the process of owning their own home; some of it may even include the fact that a budget is necessary to allow them to KEEP their new home, but it’s less common to hear anyone speak about why individuals may have difficulty sticking to the budget they have set.
A budget is simple math. You cannot overspend or you will likely end up losing the home you worked so hard to acquire. Why folks in Washington can’t live by a budget is a subject of debate, but it is certainly possible to set up a spending plan you can live with.
Whether you are just beginning the process of buying a home or the moving truck is on its way, it’s vital that you learn (and resolve) the issues which keep you from sticking to your budget.
The reasons why some people may find it difficult to stick with a budget can range from something as simple as a plan which is too strict to emotional issues which can vary from person to person.
Except in extreme cases it isn’t necessary for you to seek a psychologist’s couch for answers to why you can’t live within your means. A good place to start is to think back to how your parents handled money and you will get a good idea of where your ideas about spending and saving come from.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that money is just an object - an item of barter between you and another party. Nothing more, nothing less. Giving it more power than that is not only counterproductive, it could prove fatal to your dreams of home ownership.