Wondering How Tight Your Budget Should Be?
If you cringe when you hear the phrase "tight budget," you're likely not alone. I cringe too. I don't want to be known as a tight-wad when it comes to money. And I don't think that I am. I have been blessed in many ways over the years, but there have certainly been times when money has been tighter than others.
I suppose it's a loaded question anyway. Is there just one right answer? I don't think so. I think there are some principles that can help you find a balance that works for you. After all, they do call it, personal finance!
What constitutes a "tight budget," anyway?
I would say that "tight budget" is relative to your spending situation before you started focusing on your finances. Our budget is far tighter and focused simply by budgeting all of our income before the month begins. There are certainly fun things that we budget for, but it's intentional now that we're budgeting.
It all comes down to managing the tension and stress that comes with personal finances. Most people struggle with feeling like they never have enough. Or that their not as far along financially as they wish. Heck, I struggle with this sometimes, too. It's natural, and a bit of tension can help keep us motivated.
3 Ways to Determine How Tight Your Budget Should Be
- Understand Your Personality: Are you a natural saver, or spender? If you are a saver, having a tight budget is probably running through your blood. If you are a natural spender (like me) you have to build tension into your budget to help keep you on track. I'm a spender, but also a rule follower, so once I/we create a rule around our budget, I can follow it. Having the self-awareness to know where your weaknesses are and creating boundaries to guide should help.
- Goals: Setting and knowing your goals should also play a part in how tight your budget is. Depending on how big you goal is and the timeline in which you hope to complete it, should help squeeze or loosen your budgeting decisions.
- Anticipate: Budgeting was really tough for us the first few months. We forgot to budget for lots of things and it made budgeting frustrating. It also caused us to keep more money in a "blow" category to cover our mistakes. As time went on, we got better and better. Now, we don't even have a blow category. If something comes up, we just move things around and adjust as necessary. We also have six month's of expenses saved up for emergencies.
A tight budget doesn't have to be a boring budget. You can still budget for fun in your life, but just make sure you are weighing the fun things alongside your bigger goals and prioritizing your budget accordingly. It's all about being intentional.
What makes your budget feel tight?