Budgeting is a crucial skill that we all have to master at some point in our lives. Here are the 10 stages that we go through as we try and make the most of our family dollar:
1. Noticing the Problem
You start to notice the amount of toilet paper, paper towels, sunscreen, masking tape, etc., that your family is using. The wheels start turning and you realize that the perfect storm of over-spending is brewing.
Just like during the stage of grief, you refuse to accept that your family is spending as much money as they actually are. And just like in grief, you’ve got a long way to go until recovery.
3. The Red
Reality sets in: your family is spending way too much. It might be heating, gas, rent; you name it. Everything is adding up to be more than you can afford. When it shows up on your bank statement, you realize that something is terribly wrong. The panic ensues.
“How did I get here? How did this happen? I thought I was so good with money. Why is this happening to me?” You freak out.
You take a deep breath and collect yourself. There must be a way out of this, you just have to think through what it is.
You take a good, hard look at your finances. You write down your expenses, spending hours digging for receipts, as you try to piece together where all of your money is going.
It’s surprising when it hits you, but as you analyze where all of your money is going, you begin to see the specific problem areas. There are plenty of areas where your family can cut back on spending. You start to get excited.
8. The Slash
Aware of the problem, you begin to cut back on unnecessary spending. Your family might not need that weekly hair cut, or that custom-made Snuggie that you saw in the infomercial. You start to look for more ways to cut back on household waste or uneaten food; things of that nature. It feels good to be in charge.
9. The Difference
Recovery is on the horizon, as you start to notice that all of your hard work at cutting unnecessary expenses is paying off. Soon, you’ll be back in the black.
You rejoice over your excellent budgeting skills, as your finances dance jovially back into the black. You have saved your family from debt and poverty. Congratulations, pat yourself on the back, you master budgeter, you.
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