It was just last night that I was talking with my wife about our financial goals for the future. One of them is to buy a home. Because we live in an expensive region of the country and we don’t make that much money, this is quite the challenge. It will take a lot of discipline to save a large enough down payment in order to qualify for a loan, if ever.
It was in this conversation that we started to list out all of our financial priorities. We listed all of our financial goals out, with the numbers beside each one. We believe financial goals are important and keep us focused in our spending. Yet, when we listed out all of our savings goals, we got overwhelmed. In order to reach all of our goals, we need to start making lots of money or start eating ramen. That’s what it seems like, at least.
Simplicity Is Helpful for Budgeting
This was a great reminder that keeping a budget simple is often the best policy. While I am a firm believer in knowing where you spend your money, I also believe in balance. You should never spend more than a couple hours each month on your budget. If it takes you too long to add everything up and evaluate your progress, you’ve made a mistake somewhere. Like we’ve said before, you will lose interest if it’s too complicated.
Because I strive to stay interested, there are certain areas that I don’t make sure that I cross all of my t’s. One of areas in our budget that isn’t given enough attention is my wife’s reimbursement. She drives to meetings for work and inevitably spends more money on gas. Yet, she is reimbursed for all of these meetings per mile. However, the way that I add up our expenses, it would be too much work to add in her reimbursement checks. Inevitably this means a little fuzzy budgeting, but it saves me hours of extra work and countless effort in making it perfect. I also am okay with it because I know that we are bring in more money than I am calculating. If it were the other way around, I may be concerned.
The moral of the story is that simplicity is okay. In fact, it is beyond okay. It is often better because it keeps you from getting overwhelmed like I felt when I wrote down my financial goals over the next 3 years. Simplicity in that situation means focusing on one goal and keeping working to save as much money as possible. Believe it or not, this motivates me more than figuring out how much I need to save over the next 5 years.