On paper, a budget may not look like much. Just a list of income and expenses. But if you’re doing your job and following that budget, you know what a critical asset it is. Your budget is keeping your finances – and your life – on track. So why not treat your budget like the precious asset it is by protecting it as you do with jewelry, a fine watch or a family heirloom?
Protecting your budget means following it. It means remembering to make payments when they’re due. It means saving and spending and donating according to a carefully crafted plan.
You can protect your budget in several ways. Here are some suggestions for the technically inclined and the not-so-technically inclined.
I use technology myself. I put my family’s budget into my computer’s Calendar. Then I sync it up with my digital organizer, which, in my case, is my cell phone. This way, I get automatic updates right on my cell phone every month when bills are due.
There are several software programs that do this too. You don’t even need a computer because even cheap cell phones usually include calendars which allow you to input recurring events.
On my cell phone, I get 2 notifications, the first one comes two days before a bill is due and the second one comes on the day the bill must be paid. This makes it very hard to forget when expenses need to be paid.
By due date, I mean the date I need to send a payment for it to get there in time. Some payments are mailed and others I handle online through my checking account.
For those who prefer not to deal with gadgets, paper calendars can work just fine. It’s best to put in expenses at least one month in advance and to check the calendar every day. Put it someplace that you’re sure to see it. And don’t forget to schedule the day to input your expenses for the next month or the next several months right in the budget calendar.
You can also use a personal date book. The important thing is whatever helps you to remember when expenses are due with enough time to make sure the funds are available for them.
Have you got a great method for staying on track with your budget? Tell us what’s working for you!