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January 15, 2008

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Sometimes it is easier to think of a budget as a "spending plan" for you and your family. While some might dismiss as a mind-game, I've found both with our own finances and coaching others that this subtile change can make a big difference.

Having a plan for "extra" money before you receive it helps a lot. In the past, we had a budget based on our regular pay, and we never factored in any bonuses or other "extra" money (gifts, etc). We would usually put a little away, but blow most of it.

This month, we get an "extra" paycheck from my job (three paydays instead of two), and my husband gets a year-end bonus and a referral bonus from his job. We estimated how much money this would give us before the month began, and it is almost all going towards one loan - which will now be paid off by May, since we focused all the additional money on it. We never would have managed this before.

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