It is possible to become and live debt free, but takes commitment to the goal and the process. It takes a budget. Eek! Budget!!! Budgets are essential to accomplishing your goal. It's like a recipe to a cake, a personal trainer to fitness, its a tool to your financial accomplishment.
A budget can look different to each person, but in many cases will have common items like mortgage payment, grocery expenses, insurance payments, bills. But what will look different is the amounts, what's coming in and what's going out in different manners.
Once we had accomplished much of our initial financial goal from when we first married, we have kind of coasted for a while, not giving much thought to budgets, albeit distracted by childhood cancer a long the way, but maintaining the pay as you go mentality. Kept us out of trouble, that's for sure. Recently a new direction was becoming apparent. While we had been putting some money away for retirement, the question became how much, along with the kids educational future and with a special needs child, there is more too. RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs and TFSA's so many initials and all needing attention. And as usual there is only a certain amount of money coming in, expenses going out and now decisions on how to fit in the rest. Once again a budget plan comes into play with new goals.
A budget isn't all about restrictions and limitation, to us it has actually been relieving. Knowing there is a plan, what is doable and while there is give and take, it is much more freeing knowing that choices over where money is going is keeping the
families best interests in mind, and not to let the cheap pleasures of today keep us from that. Smells like frugal living you say? Why yes it is. Frugal doesn't mean being cheap, eating macaroni cheese for supper each night and only using one light bulb in the house. It's about putting your money to things that matter! Not just cheap thrills of the moment. We enjoy our lives because we purposely spend and save our money to things that matter to us, not the Jones'.
I'd like to do a little study on what people really think of budgets and how they work in the real world. There are many methodologies of personal finance and curious to know how well people succeed by them and stick to them. Let me know, do you budget? Has it helped you? How do you budget?