New Year’s Is Over, Now The Fun Begins: Your 2018 Budget

By Al Zdenek

Nothing like spoiling the party, right? Here you are feeling good about new resolutions for the year and someone has to use the “B” word. Thanks a lot.

Nevertheless, many of us have budgets on our minds this time of year, both in business and in our personal lives. When I find myself discussing the topic of budgeting with clients, I find it’s often helpful to revisit the insights found in an article written by Holly Johnson. In “Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Have a Budget,” Holly lists the five key reasons why everyone should have a budget. It’s my experience that these pieces of wisdom can apply personally or to your business.

Getting into debt is a piece of cake, is reason number one. It is far too easy to spend. Without carefully monitoring your spending, you may start to rely on those credit cards and other forms of debt.

Surprise expenses can throw you off track, is the second reason Holly lists, and it’s a reason to which you can certainly relate. By planning your spending, you can anticipate these surprises in your budget. Knowing when these surprises are coming will allow you to avoid being thrown off track.

You have no idea how much you could be saving, is third. Having a budget and checking it monthly—especially if it’s your first time doing so—may reveal spending that surprises you. If this exercise reveals trends that are preventing you from saving to your full potential, you then have the choice to do something about it.

Reason number four is, when you don’t plan your spending, you waste money. This concept is closely tied to reason number one. It is far too easy to spend, so without a plan you are likely to spend unnecessarily. With a budget, you get to say explicitly where your money is going. As a result, you are likely to be more particular on what you spend.

Lastly, Holly writes without a budget, it’s much more difficult to reach your goals. It’s quite simple: Have a goal and you are more likely to achieve what you want.

In my book Master Your Cash Flow, I compare a budget to a roadmap on a car trip. If you want to drive to Seattle from New York, you simply have to get in to your car and drive a long way west and a little bit north, right? Right. But by having a roadmap—a budget—you will likely get there in less time, with less cost, and certainly less stress and anxiety.

Hey, you don’t need to budget. But to start 2018, consider the reasons above before you proceed without one. With careful budgeting, you might wind up working less in life and having more to spend in retirement. Then you can really party!


Al Zdenek is a speaker, wealth advisor, CEO and best-selling author of Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow And Retain Wealth with ForbesBooks. Learn more at AlZdenek.com.