Creating a budget is like doing exercises that aren’t necessarily your favorites. It may not be the most fun, but it is necessary for your overall health and wellbeing. On the other hand, chronic stress, often caused by financial strain, is not good for our health. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2020 report, about 64 percent of us say that money is a significant source of stress, especially after the year we’ve just had. That’s why creating a budget (or as money expert Ellen Rogin prefers to call it “A values-based spending plan”) is so important. It lets us take control of our finances and in many ways, our health, our wellbeing and our future. 

I know all of this firsthand. As someone who started out early adulthood in major debt, I quickly realized that was not a place where I wanted to stay. My husband and I began developing a budget at the beginning of every year, and we’ve stuck with that habit. It has impacted everything. On very modest incomes, we were able to pay off the debt within a few years and start an emergency fund. This fund has saved us repeatedly from having to take out loans for emergency-type expenses or put them on a credit card. Yes, life happens, but you can have a great deal of control over how prepared you are for it. That’s why I wanted to share with you the 4 essential steps for creating a budget that have worked for us that will help reduce stress and foster your dreams, your reality and your health. Read more