You just graduated nursing school and now you’re ready to find a new job and start living as a responsible adult. Maybe you’ve been a nurse or nurse practitioner for sometime now, and you’ve always known you probably need to figure out this budgeting thing. Or maybe you feel like you already manage your money well without a written budget, and you’re able to mentally track your money and don’t feel that you need to deal with the hassle of a budget. I hope I can convince you that a budget is a good idea.
1) Budgeting gives you freedom
The primary benefit of keeping a budget is to give you freedom. Your nursing job probably comes with good pay, but no job has unlimited pay. There’s only a limited amount of financial resources you have available whether from your job, debt, or other sources of means. Since we all have a limited amount of financial resources, you should have some way of tracking and allocating your limited financial resources.
When you track and budget your money, you take control of the money you have. You get to decide exactly how you want your money to be used. If you sit down and create a budget, this gives you freedom to choose where your money is spent or saved. If you want to have financial freedom, you’ve got to have a budget. It doesn’t need to be a complicated budget that assigns every dollar toward something. It could be as simple as putting a specific amount each month towards something important and using the rest as you want. Creating a budget helps you create a financial plan for your life which in turn gives you freedom to live your life.
2) Budgeting helps you objectively track your money
Tracking your money is a built in part of budgeting. Oftentimes I didn’t know really how my money was being spent each month or throughout the year. I usually saw lots of charges on my credit card for various things but quickly the mental tracking got overwhelming and inaccurate.
You have to know how much you spend and make in order to create a reasonable budget. Updating and keeping a budget requires frequent tracking of your income and expenses. You don’t have to budget to track your money though. I found that Mint was great at tracking my money but didn’t work well for helping me keep or create a budget. I recommend a free Personal Capital account for tracking your overall money and net worth.
3) Budgeting provides you peace of mind
Keeping a budget also gives you peace of mind. With a budget, you’re not wondering where your money is going because you already know. Before I kept a budget, I had an idea about how much I was making or spending, but I never really knew for sure. I also would seem to have unexpected or forgotten expenses which would come up frequently. The unanticipated expenses were always unsettling. I always had a nagging fear in the back of my mind about my finances. I wasn’t doing bad, but I didn’t know if I was doing great. I gained significant peace of mind once I actually started budgeting.
If budgeting feels like a huge, daunting task, I’d recommend starting with tracking your money with either Mint or Personal Capital. Both are free and basically require no effort on your part to maintain and update. Budgeting doesn’t have to be a complicated, hard task. It can actually be as easy or hard as you make it. I now always look forward to setting and updating our budget every month. It literally takes me 10-15 minutes to do each month with massive benefits. If you’re ready to look further into setting up a budget then check out my 8 Tips for Starting a Budget.