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There are only a few days left of our 31 day zero spending challenge. We’ve spent the past 4 weeks taking care of our basic needs, cleaning and organizing our homes, fostering our creativity, and maximizing our resources. At this point it would be easy to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
But we’re not going to do that. At least, not yet.
The whole point of this spending freeze challenge was to change the way we approach our spending and to force us to use and appreciate what we have instead of buying something new. I hope and pray it has made a difference in your life, as I know it has made a difference in mine. That said, old habits are hard to break, and as we head into the spending-heavy months of November and December, the temptation to revert back to our old ways will be strong. For the next few days we are going to look beyond this challenge, to things we can do to make sure the changes stick.
Today we will start by re-assessing our budgets, which frankly is no easy task. It is something I have written about before, in my LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Savings. The hard truth is that no one can fix your budget for you. There are no magic solutions or ten-minute fixes that will have permanent results. Improving your financial outlook will require change, and change is HARD. Do it anyway.
As I tell my girls, never neglect to do something just because it is hard because it is the things you work hardest for that will reward you the most.
Don’t let fear stop you either. It can be very scary to open up the Pandora’s box otherwise known as your finances, especially if you’ve been turning a blind eye. In some ways, ignorance is bliss. But if you’re still reading up to this point, you probably know, deep down, that this is something you need to do. Take a deep breath, muster up your courage, and just do it. You’ll be better for it.
And now that the pep talk is over, it is time to get down to business. Today your assignment is to complete this Beginner’s Guide to Savings Budget Worksheet in order to get a better handle on where your money is coming from and where it is going. (For more guidance on how to fill it out, check out Week 2 of the Beginner’s Guide to Savings here.) If you’ve already got a budget, you’re not off the hook! Instead spend time finding ways to reduce your fixed expenses and to cut down your variable expenses. After a month of no spending, cutting things out of your budget probably won’t seem as daunting as it once did!
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Do you keep close track of your budget, or do you find it easier to turn a blind eye? What is the scariest part of creating a budget? Where can you cut expenses?