Let's be real. No one likes to do a budget. Unless, of course, you're an accountant or just really happen to love spreadsheets. But those numbers guys have unlocked a hidden secret. And that's the benefit of creating a budget and sticking to it.
In this episode of From Military to Millionaire, former Marine David Pere talks about how to budget - even if you hate budgeting.
Spoiler: You can even do this without tracking expenses!
Budgeting Make Easy
There are tons of tools out there for service members and military families to track their budgets. USAA, Navy Federal, and even Veterans United offer all kinds of tips and tricks. So why does the commissary look like the end of the world on payday?
Because no one knows how to really budget.
Fortunately for us, David is here to help.
Budgeting should be a lifestyle you can maintain. The first step is to know what you spend. To begin, David recommends pouring a strong cup of coffee and sitting down at you computer. Once you've checked all your social media feeds, it's time to get to work.
Step one: Log into every bank account you own and analyze the last two or three months of statements. You can separate your spending into categories like grocery, dining out, gas, entertainment, or anything else you spend your money on.
Step two: Here comes a bit of math. But you can do it! Now it's time to figure out how much you spend on what you need versus what you want and cut down the wants as much as you comfortably can. This doesn’t mean you never spend on the things you enjoy in life but don’t need. It just means finding an equilibrium where you’re spending less. Any money left over you can begin allocating to something like a paying off debt or emergency funds, instead of leaving it idly in your checking account where it’s easy to spend.
Finally, segment your spending cash. Take the categories you decided on and create an envelope for each one. Write a pre-determined dollar amount in each envelope and place the cash inside. Use the cash-only, leaving your debit card at home, to avoid over-spending. Also, you don’t spend money once the cash is gone, forcing you to stay within your budget. If you get a pay raise, instead of increasing your budget in your categories, start investing the extra money.
Ready to Level Up Your Finances?
David Pere is an active-duty Marine who is on a mission to educate the military community about financial readiness. Most people hear that term and roll their eyes, but Pere wants everyone to know that readiness can be achieved – without a lot of effort. He teaches personal finance and real estate investing to service members to help increase savings and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom.
Want to learn more about Pere? Check out the Military to Millionaire website, and connect with him on Instagram or Facebook. Subscribe to his YouTube channel here! Take a look at David's book – The No B.S. Guide to Military Life here.
Looking for more ways you can be financially strong? Check out what's new on our Mighty Money page.