Why Did I Say That?
Did you like that headline? I thought of it all by myself. Ha ha… It is interesting though, isn’t it? We all seem to treat our available bank balances as exactly that – available funds. It is NOT. That money might be required the day after for rent, or food, or fuel for your car…. What is gonna happen to those things if the funds are no longer there? Because they disappeared the day before on an impulse purchase! On something that you didn’t even need in the first place! That is where a credit card (or other “buy now, pay later” schemes and options) will often come into play… and we fall for it. Just so that we can get what we want. Momentarily, forgetting about those important bills that are “due tomorrow”…..
Everyone Loves a Treat When we want something that we might not have planned for, a treat for example, like a new pair of shoes or that “must have” accessory that is now at a bargain price, we look at our bank balance and then decide whether we can afford it, or not. More often than not, we will tell ourselves that we can afford it before we make the purchase - and then buy it anyway.
We might use cash, because we have it on us (but who carries cash around these days?) or we might use a Credit Card so we can “worry about it later”. Does anyone ever check their Credit Card balance BEFORE they put something on there? I reckon the majority of us don’t, as we just know there is a “healthy” (interesting choice of word Samantha!) credit balance just waiting to be spent… Burning a hole in our pocket, so to speak. And then there are all the other payment options in the big stores enticing us to get those treats/desires, without even parting with any money at the time of purchase! It's all just TOO easy! We can have what we want, when we want it. This is the Society we now live in.
Wants vs Needs In the scenario above, you will notice that I mentioned Rent, Food and Fuel. These three things are all necessities, for you to live. For you to survive and thrive! They are all NEEDS. Those new shoes however, along with the “must have items” are all WANTS. We could survive without an extra pair of shoes (particularly if we hand plenty already). If only we knew when we were going to “want the wants” and “need the needs”, huh? Wouldn’t life be a lot simpler?
Confusing Times These days, we have a plethora of options for us to get into more debt and we are encouraged to use money that is fundamentally, not ours. We often “have to” revert to these pay later scenarios because the available bank balance, is no longer available! Juggling those wants and needs is an art. And not all of us are good at it.
So What's The Secret? The secret to all of this is to plan ahead. The traditional style of Budgeting no longer works. Years ago, and even these days, a lot of us are just “tracking our spending”. Noticing what we are spending in the “here and now”. We can’t do that anymore as all of the payments we are going to make (for the purchases made in the here and now), are IN THE FUTURE – because that is what we are encouraged to do in the Society we are now living in; Pay for it later.
I often think that those future payments get forgotten about…. We can very easily forget that we have to pay for all these things at some point in the not too distant future. We are so caught up in the moment of wanting that instant gratification – we can quite easily trick our minds into thinking we CAN afford something, when in actual fact (often realised too late) we cannot.
What we need to start doing, is planning ahead. KNOWING when those future payments we committed to are due, before we even start. Even those pesky quarterly bills…. All of those future commitments are still going to come around; Mortgages, Rent, Rates, Bills, Fuel, Food. Not to mention all of the incidental expenses, coffees, date nights, Take Away food (treats), etc. Most importantly too, we also need to know what amount of funds is excess - so that we know exactly what we have to “play” with (or splurge on).
Get A Spending Plan With a Spending Plan, you know EXACTLY ALL of your current and future financial commitments and you also know EXACTLY how much extra/surplus there is BEFORE you head out the door – and spot that “must have bargain”…. You have a very clear visual of where all your money IS and, more importantly where it is going on ANY given day of the week/month/year. The awesome software you can use can project 10 years into the future. It is a game changer, trust me.
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