3 Critical Elements for Successful Budgeting

by William Schara

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When you fail at something important, it is painful, especially in budgeting. People usually can not budget because they lack one or more of three critical elements. Are you missing any? Get these essentials and be on your way to success.

  1. Motivation - If you are reading this article, you already have some motivation. How much do you need? You need enough for "takeoff." The best way to get it is to continue education. Read articles, books, or take a budgeting course. Your motivation will grow with your education. Education will build your confidence and help you form practical achievable goals. Goals have to be something you really want. You need goals for motivation.
  2. Education - There are hundreds of books and courses from which to choose. If you are short on funds, get the basics for free from the Internet or a book on budgeting from a public library. The most important thing is to get started. An imperfect budget is better than no budget. You can change and perfect your budget as you get more education. Also, don't wait for some special time of the year (like January 1st) to start. Get started now!
  3. Implementation - All the knowledge in the world is useless if you don't put it into practice. Many motivated people take the best budgeting courses but still fail because they lack this last necessary component. Writing out a budget is not implementation. Implementation is living according to your budget. To do this, you need a budgeting system that will help you track your budget as you make each financial transaction. Budgeting without a budgeting system is like flying an airplane without instruments. Most people will crash. Whether you use a spreadsheet, special register, or software, choose the system that is easiest for you and you will be more likely to have success. Also, make sure you get a system that fits your lifestyle. If you use a combination of cash, checks and credit cards, make sure to get a system that can handle all three types of transactions.

Ask yourself if you lack any of these three essential elements for successful budgeting. If you do, make a decision to get what you need. As you get one, it will help you get the other two. Motivation will help you get education, implementation will help you get motivation, etc. As you increase all three, you will move forward to financial freedom.

William Schara C.P.A. is the author and creator of BudgetMap - The Simple Way to Budget.

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