I want to fix my budget, but I can't budge it!

By
Mortgage and Lending with RightTrac Financial Group MLS#: 988459
http://actvra.in/Xqb

I can’t be out of money. I still have checks left.


It is an old punch line, but it is amazing how many people do not budget at all or fail to stick to a budget, if they start one.

That bain of the impulsive, budgeting, is critical for everyone if you want to buy a house, even for most wealthy people, before the purchase and after.

The daily paper of the ‘well off’, the Wall Street Journal, did an article on ‘The Best Way to Stick to a Budget’ recently (Monday 6/10/13).

There was a time when most everyone religiously used, tracked, and balanced their checkbooks every month. Remember those days?
 
Then debit cards came along and, I guess, that was the beginning of the decline of the instant record keeping that checkbooks engendered. It was harder to keep track of a ‘card swipe’ and harder still to remember ‘all those transactions’ when you got home. That is the excuse many used, including me at one point in my life. You know what happens then, don’t you? Hello NSF!

I’m sure there is a personality trait correlation to saving or not saving. Some are simply better budgeters than others.

According to the article, financial planners are divided on what is best for budgeting. Continuous tracking or short term tracking and reflecting?

One is like ‘stepping on a scale every day’ while short termers say people won’t keep up detailed, focused budgeting. They will fall off the wagon. The goal is to get you into better budget and savings habits.

I say whatever keeps you focused and goal oriented. Delayed gratification – doing without now for something later is at the essence of saving. It is also a foreign concept to many Americans.

One good thing the Great Recession did was bring back some old fashioned savings habits. I know. It is hard to do.

But don’t give up! In the digital age….there is.... digital help!

Mint.com. – Quicken – You Need a Budget – Pearbudget.com are all budgeting software aids. I’m sure there are more.

There are now probably some nifty mobile apps as well. Just tracking what you spend can be eye opening. Sometimes, simple changes in behavior can bring significant results.

What kind of budgeter are you?


Posted by

Righttrac Financial Group's 30 plus years of invaluable industry experience, its strong lender relationships, and my own unique business background makes for a winning combination to give you the widest array and most effective resources possible to help you achieve your mortgage goals.

When you are looking for any type of a residential mortgage, you can reach me, Tom Halzack of RightTrac Financial Group:

cell: 203-260-3413

email: tom@rightracfg.com.

Questions and any type of inquiries are welcome! FREE, NO OBLIGATION PRE-QUALIFICATIONS are available for both consumers and Realtors' clients.

"Extraordinary Mortgage Solutions"

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Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
Connecticut Fairfield County
Tags:
saving habits
saving money
impulsive spending
budgeting software
budgeting
saving for a mortgage

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Rainer
183,357
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee Home Inspector
The Home Inspector With a Heart!
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee

I'm hoping that my kids are the ones that benefit from watching me work on a budget. Peace of mind is a great thing. 

June 20, 2013 05:08 AM
Rainmaker
493,834
Amanda S. Davidson
Your Northern Virginia Realtor
Living A Dream Real Estate

Thomas, great post. I have my parents to thank for teaching me to budget early on. Started saving for my first car at age 10 and by the time I was 16 paid cash. It's a lot more gratifying when you've waited and saved to buy something than charging it on a credit card and then stressing over the bill!

June 20, 2013 06:21 AM
Rainer
63,467
Andrea HoffDomin
- in Real Estate always on your side!
Florida Dream Homes Realty

Budgeting is a very good thing because if you don't do it you don't realize when you are underwater or you are going down.

During my time working in the mortgage department in a bank I recommended to my client to make their household book and to start this exercise a few month before they start to buy something big like a house and a car.

I also recommended them not to calculate very possible dime like refunds of the IRS or bonuses from their company into their income because these things can change from year to year but the loan payments are stay for a longer time period.

Some of my former customer listened some not. 

June 20, 2013 06:41 AM
Rainer
29,676
Ymeki Stevens
Keller Williams Realty Partners

Great article! The recession has definitely been an eye opener. It is so important to track what you spend your future depends on it.

June 20, 2013 07:19 AM
Rainer
51,167
Theresa Akin
CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP

I like being able to keep track of our money by going on line. I also try hard to stick to a budget. There are only 2 of us and the 3 dogs in the household. I stick closer to the budget but my dear husband I can honestly say stays pretty close. We liked our Bud and he liked his Marlboro reds. Those two are no longer in the budget and also not in the house. Whew! We are both much healthier for it, obviously. But we still keep track of our budget. Stopped in a convenient store the other day and saw a gal purchase a pack of Marlboro lights ($6.75 for a PACK). Last time husband paid for cigarettes and lit last one was 3!/2 years ago. He still wants one but has switched to large Snyder's Pretzel Rod's. We no longer spend almost $750.00 a month on vices anymore. He still maintains his 96 Ford F-150 and my 2004 Jeep which we purchase both used. His maintaining abilities saves a lot of money but he's good at picking out pre-owned vehicles. I hate monthly payments of any kind. So we try to keep them all to a minimum.  I check our account a couple times a week but still only run on so much cash per month. I just tell him before he wants to spend do we need it and if so then see if we need it this month or can it wait. I grew up in a household where one person wrote a check knowing the money wasn't in the bank but the check probably wouldn't clear til after the money was there. Sometimes the calculations were off and it was a hefty price to pay and would throw everything out of whack. We no longer have money for certain things because we just are not going to buy it. It has to be a real need. I've knocked our grocery budget down to around $350.00 a month and that does include some eating out or take out. Eat outs and take outs usually is the next days brown bag.

June 20, 2013 07:25 AM
Rainer
118,236
Ron Aguilar
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995
Real Estate Buying Advice

nice story Thomas, thanks

June 20, 2013 08:08 AM
Rainmaker
808,064
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg Homes
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

What's a budget? That's me. Just say no to check book registers that balance!  I was laughing because I haven't written in one for years now.

June 20, 2013 08:26 AM
Rainer
275,327
Kimo Jarrett
Kimo's Lifestyle Solutions
WikiWiki Realty

I use online banking and paying everything by credit card. Credit card statements categorize your debts and sums it up every statement. Hopefully, an app will come along so you can upload your all of your credit card statements and it will automatically populate the categories and fields so you know exactly how much money you're spending at a glance.

June 20, 2013 08:29 AM
Rainmaker
296,972
Michael J. O'Connor
Eastvale - 951-847-4883
Diamond Ridge Realty

In the vein of saving money, everyone should try "Gas Buddy" which provides semi-real-time gas prices as reported by other users.  You can save a ton of money just by making sure to pick the best gas price along the routes that you travel on a regular basis.

Submitted to you by a continuous tracker.  ;-)

June 20, 2013 08:34 AM
Rainer
69,042
Keith Whited
RE/MAX Gateway

Excellent advice for most. Somehow, I have been lucky enough to never have needed a 'real' budget.

I can't remember the last time I actually 'balanced' a check book. I made sure I never overdrew my account by 'rounding up to the next dollar' the entry for every check I wrote. Every year or so I'd write a check to myself for a grand or so from the balance that gradually built up - a little like putting spare pocket change in a jar every night - yeah, I did that too.

I'm a rather conservative spender and somehow, with a few minor exceptions in really down markets have always stayed ahead of the curve - - keeping all bills paid, a sterling credit history and enough real estate and other investments to hopefully retire comfortably in a few more years.

Actual budgeting just never worked for me.

June 20, 2013 09:50 AM
Rainer
32,640
Stephanie Joines
Professional Commitment, Personal Solutions
BHHS Florida Properties Group

Came in to real estate after 22 years in banking, so I know all about the checkbooks and budgeting.  Great post!

June 20, 2013 10:35 AM
Rainmaker
1,238,198
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

I am not a great budgeter.  I do have a system.  Pay all the bills, charge nothing, live on what is left and if there seems to be a surplus over what we reasonably need for the month I put it aside for savings.  With irregulare income it is hard to budget.  We are feast or famine.  

June 20, 2013 11:27 AM
Rainmaker
629,408
Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
The Ocala Dream Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty
Hi Thomas, great post! We do a budget every year and review monthly. We are running a business!
June 20, 2013 01:00 PM
Rainmaker
268,080
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846
Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330

Budget - smudget....I've been "the Boss", i.e. biz owner since I was 20, and NEVER could stick to one. BUT, living pretty much Debt Free (only owe on a rental property and a few cards), so I guess I'm gettin'by.

June 20, 2013 01:21 PM
Rainmaker
672,768
Rob Arnold
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.

I used detailed accounting on Quickbooks to track my personal finances and business finances.  Still it is easy to get carried away spending with those credit and debit cards.  So easy just to swipe away.

June 20, 2013 02:40 PM
Rainmaker
698,680
Sharon Parisi
Dallas Homes
Keller Williams Dallas Premier Realty

Keeping records and knowing what you have is a must. Ask yourself the question, "Do I want it or need it?"  Only buy what you need.

June 20, 2013 09:56 PM
Rainer
21,592
Thomas Halzack
Extraordinary Mortgage Solutions
RightTrac Financial Group

Interesting responses by all.

To those who say they do not keep a budget, but DON"T have financial problems...

you are keeping a running budget in your head....whether you know it or not!

Whatever works, right?

June 20, 2013 10:11 PM
Rainmaker
267,176
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D
Aston McLaren Inc

every time I work on a budget for a client, I look at my own budget and it is never the same twice!!!  One of these days i wil get it correct!!

June 21, 2013 12:17 AM
Rainmaker
339,531
Nina Hollander
Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor
RE/MAX Executive Realty/Charlotte, NC

We all feel we need more than we really do. Like many other things in life, it's getting into the habit of saving and saying no to oneself.

June 22, 2013 05:59 AM
Rainer
32,454
Gijs Van Breugel
TERRA FRANCE | International Estate Agents
TERRA FRANCE | International Estate Agents for France

The crisis has been an eyeopener everywhere. Balance and budget : I have stept of the lease and loan downward circle as we cannot be sure at this point when we will get our next check. So back to the old sock under the mattress...

June 23, 2013 12:22 PM
Anonymous
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Rainer
21,592

Thomas Halzack

Extraordinary Mortgage Solutions
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