This week we're discussing budgeting, but the thing is... I never have. At least not officially. I know it may sound weird for a 23 year "adult", but the fact of the matter is:
1. In high school I was a student-athlete--studying and playing two sports-- and my parents were the kind of parents that always told me to focus on school and my craft. That doing that was my job. That it was their job to provide for and take care of my siblings and I, and that I didn't need to worry about making money, but rather hone into my academic and athletic talents so that I could potentially go to college for free. 2. It worked! I was blessed with a full athletic scholarship to college, covering my 5-year undergraduate degree which included the standard 4 years of athletic eligibility. The last 5 years I've been covered and paid for, and taken care of on someone else's dime. So I never focused on the money. Never had to worry about how I'm paying for my next meal or books. Never really had to budget. I've only had 3 jobs in my life, all of which we're paid co-ops (temporary real world internships/experience focused in your field of study in college). While my fellow co-op colleagues were budgeting their pay checks to pay for tuition, classes, meal plans, etc., my paycheck was just everyday spending money for me whenever I wanted something. In February I'll be starting my first "real" job, moving away from home once again, but to start my career this time. Which means what? Budgeting is a must now, more than ever. But I have no experience right? Wrong. I may not have had to budget money before. But I've "budgeted" other things. Two big parts of budgeting is time management and responsibility. My time in college as a student-athlete plus 3 co-ops (18 months experience), has taught me both. As I mentioned before, I had colleagues and classmates that I watched budget and protect their money. I have parents and siblings who work as well; who have their own children. So I watched, and asked questions, and back when my parents and other people told me not to worry about it because I didn't/wouldn't have bills any time soon, I asked more questions and did research. I learned. What I learned was: 1. Spend only what you have. 2. Buy what you NEED. 3. Your output should NEVER be greater than your input. 4. Set something aside & prepare for "rainy days". 5. Pay your bills sooner rather than later. 6. Plan ahead. I tell this story and say all this to say, that you can go your childhood and a good amount of your young adult life, never having to worry about money. But there will come a time when you'll have some of your own, and you'll need to keep making more, and make it last. So watch what others do, ask questions, and prepare yourself ahead of time, for when that day of budgeting comes.