You Fail to Plan, Period
Do you have a budget to begin with? Have you calculated how much money you can allot to food, housing, transportation and personal expenses while still managing to save up a college or emergency fund? If you don't have a financial plan, you really have no way to build up your wealth or make sure you stay out of debt.
“Everything from going over budget to paying a subscription fee for the free trial you forgot to cancel is the result of a failure to plan,” said Stefanie O’Connell, freelance writer and author of "The Broke and Beautiful Life." “Whether it’s planning for retirement or planning to brown bag your lunch for work tomorrow, planning can empower you and your finances.”
It’s one thing to set up a reasonable budget, but if you have no system in place to stick to it, you’re doomed to fail. It’s important to ask yourself what your budget translates to — $70 per month budgeted for nights out translates to seven cocktails per month at an average of $10 each, or roughly two cocktails per week. Converting dollars into items can help you keep track of what you can afford and what you simply can’t stretch your budget to accommodate.
In her book, "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode," Crystal Paine writes that a budget can be your key to a worry-free financial future.
"Here’s the beautiful thing about a budget: While it’s hard and limiting at first, over time you’ll realize that it’s your means to enjoy life without headaches and worry," she said. "Ultimately, it’s a pathway to freedom. And when you tell your money how to work for you, you can be intentional about how you use it.”
According to Kendal Perez, blogger for Hassle-Free Savings, even planning ahead for your ATM withdrawals can save you a lot of cash over time.
“Withdrawing cash all the time from ATM stations that aren’t affiliated with your bank is eating into your income,” she said. “Avoid this expense by withdrawing cash at the beginning of the month or getting extra cash at checkout when you’re out shopping.”