Your budget, like a best friend, will reveal the truth and nothing but the truth about your finances. Like a best friend, the budget will keep you in the know about your money. You may fight over those to-die-for purple, peep-toe, python, platform, pumps that you were planning on picking up this weekend. But no matter how huge the struggle gets, you can depend on your budget to do its job and let you know it’s just not a good idea this time. A budget will spell your entire financial picture out for you month by month, and let you know that instead of using that extra money you put away to treat yourself to that new haute chocolate suede hobo this holiday season that you should treat yourself to being debt-free and pay off your highest interest rate credit card instead. It’s tough love, I know, but a budget can give you peace of mind, so why not give her a fair chance to help you keep your finances fabulous?

One way that a budget works is to make sure you set aside some money for yourself to play with. Whether it’s the latest pretty polishes in the most talked about colors on the catwalk, a massage or both, that allowance should be for something you enjoy. You may not be able to create a big enough budget as you would like for the hottest boot of the season, or that classic clutch with the jewel snap you swear is calling your name, but you may still be able to do brunch with the girls at your favorite bistro or some other affordable activity you love. The key is not to totally deprive yourself as that could not only destroy your budget, but discourage you from using them altogether. And we don’t want that because a budget really is essential.

Tips to Make Budgeting Better
Make your own fabulous budget sheets! Budgets aren’t popular, but you can make getting used to them fun. Make your own custom made budget sheets to fit your personal style. Print them on pretty paper like animal print border paper, pastel colored paper, or whatever fits your personal style. You could pick a cute little logo to print on your budget sheets that could symbolize what taking care of your money is going to take you in life, or you could add an inspirational quote at the bottom of your sheets that keep you motivated to stay committed to creating a monthly budget and making them a permanent part of your life.

Set-up your own budget categories. Aside from rent/mortgage, insurance, food and utilities, there are categories that are unique to your life and your life only. For example, if you have a day every month that you set aside for a pedicure or a massage, you could create a category on your budget sheet called “Me Time”

Look at a budget for what it really is. Budgets aren’t meant to hurt you like so many believe, but instead help you. They let you know what you’re working with every month so you don’t have to guess at it, and do you really want a hazy picture of your income? They give you a picture of what you might be spending too much on and where you could possibly cut-back to increase savings. It’s a tool for financial success, not an instrument to make you unhappy.

For free budget sheets to get your started, visit thriftytimes.com.

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