Setting and keeping a budget

FRANKLIN LIVING—Budget. Does even saying that word make you cringe?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Truth be told, it’s a lot easier to break a budget than make it. So what’s the deal? What makes budgeting so hard (or at least seem that way)?

Typically when we try to budget, we take an “all or nothing”

Emily Mays

mindset. Most of us wind up failing very quickly – and developing an aversion to this budget business just as quickly.

Oftentimes we set ourselves up for failure because we don’t actually know how much we have to spend. We have an idea of what is available but not a realistic picture. Additionally, when we can buy just about anything with a few clicks, self-control in spending becomes an afterthought. Not to mention, everyone is so busy! We think budget means we have to stop and pull out the calculator, and nobody has time for that.

Everyone has trouble sticking to a budget – except maybe my mother, who considers it a personal challenge to beat her best power bill each and every month.

Before you start making strategic cuts to get your budget in line, take the all-important step of figuring out what you’re spending where. Sometimes we decide to “budget” and start cutting out the morning coffee run or eliminating eating out without taking into consideration how much we actually have to spend on these purchases to begin with – thus starting an endless cycle of failed budgeting.

To get your budget off on the right foot, start by breaking down your income and expenses. There are a lot of mobile app options available to help with this, or you can simply get a notebook and start making some lists. Keep up with what you’re spending on all your bills, such as mortgage/rent, gas, groceries, eating out, cell phone/internet, television, entertainment and kids’ activities. Get real and get it ALL down. Keep in mind, it might take more than one month to track everything, and that’s OK!

Knowing first what your disposable income is, after all your expenses, gets you the green light to start analyzing where you can make those strategic cuts in your spending habits. That’s precisely what we’re going to talk about next time.


Emily Mays is vice president/senior marketing director at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 13 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go local supporter. She lives in East Franklin and has one daughter, Lola, 10.

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: American Legion Posts 64 and 120 – ‘Veterans Strengthening America’

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss Northwest Shoals

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss UNA

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: In memoriam – Monuments honor the fallen of Franklin

High School Sports

RHS senior chosen as Bryant-Jordan Region 8 Scholar winner

High School Sports

Russellville High School ladies soccer team members participate in annual Night to Shine

News

Russellville High School Scholars Bowl team qualifies for state tournament

News

Vina kindergarteners connect with lots of other classes

News

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Features

Wedding Spotlight: Layne and Frank Edwards

Franklin County

RHS senior competes at state DYW competition

News

Extension, 4-H present free resume workshop

Franklin County

Franklin County has lots to love

High School Sports

Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball

News

BTCPA announces second production of season

News

RMS holds annual state assessment celebration

Franklin County

Red Bay welcomes new city attorney

Franklin County

Attempted traffic stop leads to high-speed vehicle pursuit, wreck 

Franklin County

Vehicle pursuit ends in wreck, arrest 

News

RFD, RHS collab promotes job readiness, community safety

Franklin County

Local students named to Mississippi State University’s fall 2023 President’s List

News

Russellville Elementary features among U.S. News & World Report best elementary schools

News

RCS receives recognition as finalist for national award

News

Plans get underway to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Bedfords

x