A lot of people don’t like to think about household budgets. They’re complicated. They’re time-consuming. They can be scary. Even the word itself — budget — sounds ugly, like some embarrassing sound your stomach makes after eating too much summer barbecue.
But you need some way to keep your finances on track, especially if you’ve recently incurred a huge, unexpected expense, lost your income or had your hours cut. Filing for unemployment can help replace some of that money, but it often won’t cover your entire missing paycheck.
So if you hate the idea of creating a budget, don’t. Instead, you can make a spending plan.
What’s the difference between a spending plan and a budget? Well, a spending plan allows you to choose what you must spend money on each month, and then gives you the freedom to do whatever you want with the rest.
Plus, it’s more fun to think about making a spending plan than a budget. Everyone likes spending money, right? You’re just going to plan how you spend it.
“Think of a ‘spending plan’ as a roadmap for how you’ll spend your money, rather than a list of ‘don’ts’ that restrict your spending — even if the end result is essentially the same,” said Andrew Schrage, CEO of Money Crashers, a personal finance site.
It’s also relatively quick to create a spending plan; you can probably do it in about an hour. So let’s take the time right now to set up our three “spending buckets” and make sure we have enough money to pay for what we need — and hopefully have a little fun, too.