October 7, 2011

The Importance of Having and STICKING to a BUDGET!


Hey Fly and Financially Aware Friends!!!

Budgeting can be approached in many ways from the sweet and simple standpoints to the calculated and complex.  No matter, which method you choose the bottom line is to track your expenses and create a financial plan.  Then on a regular basis, analyze how you’re doing compared to your planned spending, saving and investing. 


So many people spend money recklessly their entire life and it’s simply because no one has ever informed them how easy it can be to structure their spending with a budget.  More times than not there are usually minor adjustments that can be made to your spending habits that will make a huge impact.  The easiest way is recognizing where your money goes and creating a budget a key place to start.  Most people make room in their budget for non-variable expenses such as:  rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, and other items they receive a recurring monthly bill for, however things like food, entertainment, clothing, etc. usually are paid for by whatever money is left over and not budgeted wisely for.  

If you are consistently evaluating your actual expenses vs. your budgeted expenses, you will see where there is room for improvement and begin to order your spending and stick to a budget. 

According to the 2011 Financial Literacy Survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, more than half of all Americans say they don't use a budget. Also, 26% of adults in the U.S. admit that they're spending more than they did a year ago. And 40% of consumers are still battling unpaid credit card debt month to month.  

Now, I know that we are all Fashionistas here and I’m not saying you have to be frumpy in order to be financially savvy, just be smart about it and make sure your purchases are within your BUDGET!  The idea is to live within your means.  Some people can afford to include Louboutins into their budget, but for those of who can’t, you can ALWAYS find fly alternatives.  

For example, lets say you want to get a nice pair of stacked leopard print heels and you don't really have the funds to splurge.  Don't fret my dear, they are available in every budget.  Take a look at the options below:  







So you see, you can be FLY at any price point!  In addition to that shoe demo, here are some other ways to save: 

Shop at Thrift Stores for vintage, unique and trendy items – You can check practically any Fashion Blog for Thrifting tips.  I am amazed at the things I have seen people find at the Thrift Store.  Here are my recent Thrifting experiences herehere, and here

Shop at consignment stores and/or consign your items for money – Now I have to be honest, this is new to me.  But I am very fascinated by the idea of this.  What you do is take your items to a consignment boutique and allow them to sell them for you in return for money.  Fresh Treads is a fabulous Consignment Boutique here in Tampa. 

Set up an E-Commerce website like Big Cartel or Etsy Shop to sell clothing and accessories – This is something that so many bloggers have incorporated into their blogs and I think the idea is Fabulous!

Shop your closet  First, start by buying items that you can wear at least 3 ways.  I feel like this is a true way of getting your money’s worth.  Then have fun with mixing and matching!  This takes some creativity but it’s very necessary that you do so.  Nany's Kloset shows you how to do it with her Wednesday Remix posts.  I LOVE her blog!

Participate in a clothing swap – I have yet to do one of these, but checkout tips from one of my favorite bloggers Two Stylish Kays:  here

Buy the "Sensible Chic" version of those high end items you like – Take notes from the shoe example shown above and apply it throughout your wardrobe.

Use Store Coupons and sign up for email lists that provide discount offers – Most retail chains like Express, BeBe, ALDO, and New York & Company (and plenty others) send their customers coupons in the mail or through their email lists. It’s in your best interest to sign up for these offers to save money.
 
This is just a short list.  There are so many more ways to save.  Sites like Cheapalicious are dedicated to searching for budgeting tips like these and other freebies. 

free
Now Dolls, I do realize that the idea of budgeting may sound like a Foreign Language to some.  But don’t worry; there are so many things in place to make this easy for you.  There are plenty of FREE, yes FREE online sites and templates that can help you keep track of your expenses in every media form from smart phone apps to downloadable spreadsheets and templates.
  
Here are some of my favorite Budgeting Templates:


I LOVE the Microsoft Templates because you can really tweak it to fit your exact need with the category break down and empty spots to add more items if necessary.  Additionally, there are two columns - one for your projected/expected spending and another for your actual spending and a third column for your difference.  

You don’t want to continuously have a shortfall that is NOT a good sign!  Remember, when using these (manual) templates, it’s very important that you are honestly tracking the money you spend; otherwise your budget will be inaccurate.  So every penny counts!  Yes, even that $1 per day you spend at the vending machine, those drinks you buy at happy hour, that $7- $10 nail polish you had no intention of buying – it all counts, please document it!!!!

Here are some Popular Phone Apps:


The phone apps are good because they send you a notification and balance update every time you swipe that card!  I don’t know about you but I am a BIG see it to believe it kind of girl.  So when I see how much money I have and where it’s going, I am more cautious and mindful of how I spend it.  

If you are old school and need to break out that pencil, calculator and notebook paper.  Do what you gotta do; use whatever method works BEST for you.  But I promise, if you track your spending for 30 days you will be amazed at where your money REALLY goes compared to where you THINK it goes.  The point of it all is to see if you are spending properly or LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS

So to wrap up this post, I hope you all take heed to this advice and take advantage of all of the FREE things available to help you remain on track with your finances.  This is just the beginning; we will definitely get deeper into budgets in the upcoming Finance Friday posts.  Stay tuned for more Fashionable Budgeting Tips!!!

You guys know I LOVE hearing from you, so tell me:  Do you currently have a personal budget?  How well do you stick to it?  Speak on it!!!  










Love You for Following,
G

20 comments:

  1. This is such a great and well needed post!! I have a monthly budget, but I cant seem to get myself to stick to it... i know thats a major problem...but im working on it lol.

    -Cherrie
    CherrieAmore.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have the best advice,we adore your blog :-) Now hopefully we can make some use of your advice-It is just so difficult to have a budget. Wish you were my shopping buddy,actually not :-) you would talk me out of every purchase-right! Thanks for stopping by.Check your e-mail.

    ~Bobbie

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  3. amazing post!!! I have done budgets many times mostly because I have to. I also document each transaction on my check register. it helps me keep a running balance of my accounts. Mint.com is an excellent resource!!!

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  4. This is an AWESOME, detailed post! You are the best for this! I'm in college so I'm constantly trying to live within my very restricted means. This blog post is very good advice, thank you!

    http://shannonsometimes.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post!! When I saw it I was thinking of the countless times I've overspent or blown a budget on impulse buys ... SMH!

    This is very informative with great tips and tools, which reminds me -- I recently learned someone close to me budgets in their head. I immediately thought, that can't be anything good! Thx G! Keep us financially fit fashionista's!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post, so interesting :) !
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  7. How great, someone that talks about budgeting! I love being careful with my money and not over spendning, It kind of comes naturally to me but I do use one of the budget apps for iphone x

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  8. How do I follow your blog I cant find a follow button?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ladies, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. I will keep them coming.

    Cherrie J. - LOL!!! Yes girl, I know it can be tough but its in your BEST interests to work on it.

    Bobbie - LOL!!!! Thank you so much. Hey I would make a great shopping buddy but I would be that voice of reason too. I checked my email, I don't have anything from you. I keep getting error messages on your blog. I'll send you a tweet.

    Stacy - Great job Honey! Keep up the good work.

    Shannon - Thanks so much, I remember my college days too girl. Sounds like you're on a great path. I'm gonna check out your blog.

    Lea - You know I love you and your comments girl! Stay strong and get that person who budgets in their head to change their ways.

    Fabrizia - Thank you so much. I am coming to your blog soon.

    Style Diaries - Thank you!!!

    Yolandaas - I'm so glad you are a Financially Aware Fashionista!!!! You can follow my blog using the Google Friend Connect Button at the bottom of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow...You got a couple others in there too! Great find!

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  11. I have seriously learned so much from this post. New to your blog....love it girlie!
    XOXO,
    NajaDiamond
    NajaDiamond

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