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Your personal finances probably fall in the range from a haphazard mess to a fine-tuned budget that lets you track every dollar you spend. It may be safe to say that most of us would like to be closer to the second situation and, in reality, we live closer to the first – the haphazard mess. This post is about some thoughts on transforming yourself to a more orderly financial situation.

The first step you need to do is to start to believe is that a budget is not punishment. Properly done, a budget ends up letting you buy the things you really want – like a nice vacation or new car – because you have not wasted your money on, well, who knows where the money went?

A neat trick to start a budget is to pretend you have a much smaller income than you currently earn and put together a “survival” budget that includes only those expenses you must pay to stay in your home and have something to eat. The difference between the money needed for your survival budget and how much you earn is money you have to spend as you like. When you know how much this is, it becomes easier to set up a budget that includes dining out, going to the movies and socking some away in a savings or investment account.

One way to not break your budget plan is to find another source of money to pay for something you want but that something is not included in the budgetary plan. Selling a piece or two of gold jewellery can put some cash in your pocketbook that is not coming out of the budget you worked hard to put together and that you really want to continue to follow.