I'm happy to welcome my friend Jessi, The Budget Mama to Six Figures Under today!
How much money is enough money? Seems like a simple enough question, but the problem is not the question itself, it is the ideology behind the question. “Enough money” implies that you do not have enough money right now, which may very well be true, but sitting around waiting on a money tree to start growing in your backyard is not going to help you manage your money any better.
I used to think, “when I start making more money, then I’ll budget. After all, you have to have money in order to budget, right?” Wrong. Totally dead wrong.
My daddy always told me growing up that “money just makes you more of what you already are.” In other words, if you are spender now, you will be a spender later when you “have money”, so you better make sure you know how to manage money before you have it. If you like to take risky risks with your money now that continually leave you scraping by, you will do the same thing when you have more money “to play with”.
More money just allows you to keep doing what you are already doing, just with more money. Therefore, your situation is not going to change nor improve when you have more money. If you want a better life for yourself now, you have to stop waiting and start doing.
The first budget I ever made is when I was completely broke and about to be evicted from my apartment. My first budget saved my life because it made me take ownership of my stupidity with money. It gave me the roadmap and direction I needed to manage my money.
Not sure where to start with budgeting? Keep it simple. Start with tallying up your expenses (taking three-month averages for bills/expenses that do not have a set payment every month) and then tally up your monthly income. From there, subtract your income from your expenses.
It is not a fancy way of budgeting, but it works. It is a simple process that allows you take ownership of your money. Budgeting is not, nor should it be complicated. A simple budget will give you the roadmap to success with money.
However, a budget alone will not make the amount of money you have right now work for you. You have to make your money work by applying and sticking to your budget. If you want your money to work in your favor, you have to provide the hustle by holding yourself accountable to your budget.
If your budget is in “the red”, meaning that you do not have enough income to cover all your expenses every month, then you will need to apply the cut and side hustle process. The first step is to cut all unnecessary spending and bills (such as cable, unused gym memberships, and maybe even the data package on your phone). This is the hard part of budgeting – letting go of things we feel we truly need and that we want to have. However, if you want to get ahead with your money, you have to make the income you earn right now be enough money for you.
The side hustle process is where you do things “on the side” of your regular job. Things that I did when I was broke to help get me out of the red were; sell items that I did not need/want online, pick up extra hours at work, work a part-time job on the weekends, tutor fellow college students, and little odd and end jobs for other people (running errands, helping with yard work, and babysitting).
The cut and side hustle process is not easy. However, if you give yourself a goal to meet (“I want to make X amount from my part-time job before I can quit” or “once I have saved up X amount I will have my cable turned back on”), it will make the cut and side hustle process feel less like a prison sentence. Giving yourself goals to meet will help you achieve making the money you have be what you need to live well on.
There will never be enough money, you will always want or need something. The key to “having it all” is to make do with what you have right now. Stop waiting for more money to fall into your lap, to win the lottery, or for Great Aunt Edna to die and leave you $10,000. Make your money work for you right now.
How About You?
- What is your “enough money” philosophy?
Jessi Fearon is a wife, mom of two little boys, and writer behind The Budget Mama, a personal finance site where she shares her family's real life on a budget. She is devoted to helping her readers thrive on a budget while becoming better money managers.