Budgeting has never been a task that I enjoyed. Balancing my checkbook was tolerable as a young adult, and even exciting with the start of my first full time job. The novelty wore off quickly as the purchase of a first home, a wedding, utility payments, and grocery bills inundated my life. And then it was a blur-a big, overwhelming chore that caused me to cover my eyes and wish it away.
There are 3 Financial Guru’s who helped change my attitude about money and make budgeting tolerable:
The first financial book that peeked my interest was David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire. I went on to read most of his books, including my favorite, Smart Women Finish Rich. After reading these books, I began shifting my perspective about money and real estate acquisition as a means of long term investing.
Around the same time I began reading David Bach, my husband was tuning in to watch the Suze Orman Show on a regular basis, and I realized that I liked listening to this financial savvy woman, who was up-front and honest with her callers. Her Can I Afford It? segment was always particularly entertaining and it made sense.
Finally, my husband introduced me to Dave Ramsey and his Seven Baby Steps to Financial freedom. We enrolled in Financial Peace University at a local church, and his structured plan really appealed to my methodical personality. We worked through Baby Steps 1-3, which involved setting up a small emergency fund, paying off all credit card debt, and building up savings of 3-6 months of living expenses.
The hardest part of budgeting for me has always been taking a realistic look at my finances and accepting how much money was being spent in each category. My husband’s favorite quote comes to mind, “If you can’t accept it, you can’t correct it.” The payoff, literally, has been the peace of mind that comes with knowing where my money is going every single month and realizing that now we can set attainable financial goals.
Who has influenced your financial habits?