How To Use A Budget To Help You Set Priorities

by Hank Coleman

Everyone needs a monthly written budgetYou can use a budget as a tool to help you save your money and set your financial priorities and financial goals. A budget is a tool, so to speak, you use for saving your money and setting certain financial goals. The process also helps you establish a plan of attack on how to reduce and get rid of any consumer debt that you may have. A budget can help you see where you need to cut spending so you can channel your money toward more worthwhile purchases.

Monthly Written Budget Can Help You Modify Behavior

Make your budget work for you. That means to look at your savings as a commitment you’re making for the long haul. Do nto let any types of setbacks deter you from your objective from saving for the future. Stay on track and keep focused. Life is apt to deal out a bad card every now and then. However, do nto let that bar you from directing your sights on your intended goals. If you are finding your savings contribution hard to maintain, scrutinize your budget. It can shine some light on your spending habits. For instance, you may need to cut down on random purchases. A bit of behavior modification might be in order.

Setting Short Term And Long Term Goals

When establishing a budget, you’ll need to set savings goals that are short-term as well as long-term. For example, you may want to include:

  • Obtaining a college education in the next ten years;
  • Saving for retirement in another 25 years;
  • Buying a home in 5 years; or
  • Purchasing a vehicle in one or two years.

Setting such goals provides incentives to curb spending. However, do nto make the goals so unrealistic that it makes it impossible for you to save. By making slow and steady progress, you’ll reach your objectives. After all, budgeting isn’t a temporary fix. It is a lifetime commitment.

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Monthly Written Budget Helps Managing Your Cash Flow

You may find, when you establish a budget, that a couple big payments come due at approximately the same time. If this is the case for you, you can make the cash flow situation a little less strained by contacting certain creditors and asking them to reschedule your payments. Try to maintain payments so you’re not slammed with a lot of bills simultaneously each month. You’ll also discover, by establishing a budget, that you can even out the cash flow with respect to medical and dental visits as well. Stagger checkups so you do nto have to pay all your out-of-pocket healthcare costs at the same time.

Save Your Money For More Practical Items

Setting up a budget also helps you learn how to prioritize when buying clothes. Plan to use the money you save for clothes for items that are worn more often. For example, it is much better to pay more money for a quality windbreaker than a designer dress.

Budgeting can certainly help you make your money work for you. It is the best way to organize your household finances. Manage your money so it does not manage you.

Photo Source – Flickr: epsos

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]

Hank Coleman has written 575 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth @ Simple Finance

I have so many friends who make the mistake of only having short-term goals – get out of debt, buy a house, save for a trip. I think it’s crucial to have short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, otherwise you can get bogged down in the day-to-day minutae or, alternatively, focus so much on the horizon that you miss what’s right in front of you.


Christina F. Haze

Making lists has always helped me be more organized and determine priorities. Also, I’ve found that the more visible they are to me (like on a wall, or the fridge), the better it is. Great article! 🙂


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