Stop Budgeting! Do This Instead

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Budgeting is a lot like dieting -- and dieting sucks, which is why I don't do either of them. Yes, I'm a certified financial planner without a budget because I believe there are other things to do with your finances that will get you results faster.

It's like losing weight. A lot people get up early, go to the gym, work out really hard and still don't see the progress they're looking for on the scale, so they give up. But if they got 8 hours of sleep every night and cut out soda, they'd make a bigger impact and see the pounds start to drop.

I recently lost 5 pounds by cutting out soda and cutting back on eating other carbs. So how can you apply this idea to your finances?

The Biggest Secret Towards Improving Your Finances

Earn more money. There are a lot of ways you could be improving your finances but one of the easiest is to increase your income. If you were making more money you could pay down debt faster, build your savings rapidly, increase your retirement contributions and more! And you could do all of this without having to change your current spending.

9 Other Big Wins to Rock Your Finances:
  • Set up an automatic contribution from your checking to your emergency savings.
  • Open a Roth IRA and contribute to it monthly.
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions by 1 percent.
  • Run life insurance quotes and then apply for a 20- or 30-year term life insurance policy. Once the new term policy is in place, cancel old whole life insurance policies.
  • Revamp your company benefits during open enrollment at your employer. This could save you serious tax dollars!
  • Submit any outstanding reimbursements from your company, an insurance provider, or mail in rebates.
  • Pay $200 extra payment on your highest interest rate debt (credit card, student loan, car loan, etc.) every month and make it automatic. (Here are 20 Tips to save $200 if you're not sure where to get that money from.)
  • Put a system in place to pay your bills in full and on time every month.
  • Schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney in your area to put wills, health care directives, and other important legal documents in place.
Instead of agonizing over your monthly budget, figure out how you earn more money. Or take 10 minutes and do one of the other 9 big wins if you want to see some seriously results.

Sophia Bera is a virtual financial planner for millennials and the founder of Gen Y Planning. She is location-independent but calls Minneapolis "home." She offers a free Gen Y Planning newsletter and published her first ebook to provide Gen Y guide to empowered personal finances.
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