An Honest Look Inspires Real Rewards - By SN Galbierz
What if there was a document that revealed your best and worst traits; would you read it? Would you be proud, or would you be afraid of the truth? Can you be truly honest with yourself? If yes, then it is time for you to create a budget.
Creating a budget consists of setting goals, tracking expenditures and monitoring your progress. You will make adjustments, correct spending leaks, and be better off financially by knowing exactly where your money is going. It will take time and effort, but the rewards are worth it.
I am newly enlisted and currently living in the barracks at TRACEN Petaluma. What a great place to live, work and save. I have zero bills, my housing is covered, I don’t have a car and my meals are taken care of. I should be saving money like crazy, but that is not the case.
This past week I created my personal budget and tracked every dollar I have spent while at TRACEN Petaluma. It is my hope that my poor spending habits can be corrected and show you the importance of budgeting. We all need to see the numbers and the truth behind our spending.
BUDGET (MAY 2019 – OCTOBER 2019)
|SNACKS & CANDY||GROCERY STORE/ CGX||GOING OUT||TRANSPORTATION||CLOTHES & SHOES||TWO ROCK COFFEE|
|HAIRCUTS||WITHDRAWN CASH||NEW COMPUTER||LODGING||AMAZON|
|INCOME AFTER TAXES & DEDUCTIONS|
We can quickly see areas where I can cut spending and save.
- Snacks & Candy
It’s the vending machines here at TRACEN Petaluma. They are everywhere and each transaction at $1.50 over the past months has totaled $318.00.
Easy fix, I need to stop buying those Gatorades and Cliff Bar’s I love.
Ubers, airplane tickets and car rentals have come to a total of $1725.00
I thought I could save money by not having a car, but the truth is I may be losing money in the long run and may need to consider buying a car.
(Note: Uber – $730.00, Car Rentals $273.00, Airplane Tickets $722.00)
- Going Out: Food & Drinks:
$1,170.00. This one hurts and is the most obvious and simple one to correct. We know going out is expensive and easily correctable. There is great food being served on base by the best culinary specialist. I can save by choosing the simple meals over the costly ones. That being said, we should enjoy ourselves by going out occasionally, but as with all things, moderation is key.
I enjoy going out with friends, using an Uber to get home safely and then I binge out on snacks from the vending machine. There is nothing wrong with that, but it has cost me over $2,000 in the past six months. Not to mention I would probably have a six pack if I cut out the drinks and sweets. Okay, probably not, but I would definitely be better off financially. By creating a budget, I can start making conscious decisions about my spending habits and save.
My 1st Rule of Budgeting: Pay Yourself First
My budget is not all bad, after earning just over $10,000 after taxes I have been able to save $3498. That amounts to 1/3rd of my income saved. Saving 1/3rd of your income may seem unrealistic but it is only possible because I pay myself first. What does this mean?
It means I treat my savings as an expense category with every paycheck. I set an amount to save every paycheck as if it were a bill, or worse a tax. DO NOT plan savings around what is left over after you’ve paid everything else. If you do there won’t be anything left to save. Start small, be disciplined. Even if it is $20 every paycheck it is a start and that is what matters.
Budgeting can make the difference between never having enough money and being able to afford things that are truly important. Things like saving for a down payment, buying a new car, paying off debt or finally starting that savings account. I want you to budget so you can save for what matters the most to you.
It is uncomfortable to confront your spending habits, but you have to embrace the truth. By bringing to light your spending you become aware and can begin to make better decisions about how you spend money.
Creating a budget is simple:
- Collect your banking statements since January of this year.
- Organize your spending into an excel spread sheet.
- Look for leaks in spending and make corrections.
You will immediately see for yourself the areas you can improve. Many credit unions and online banks will have budget breakdowns already available. You can find one from SeaWest here.
Or if you prefer, I will be happy to e-mail you my Excel spreadsheet I used to write this blog.
This is a small blog meant to inspire a small action. Start a budget and save money.
I hope this helps you save for the things that are truly important.
Thank you for reading.
Very Respectfully, SN Galbierz.
Disclaimer: Budget values have been rounded and changed to protect the author’s privacy.
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