A Balanced Budget, A Balanced Life: Covering Your Financial Needs and Making The Most Of Your Time

When the days seem long and endless, focus less on managing work and home responsibilities, and more on spending time doing the things that are most meaningful. A balanced life isn’t achieved solely by managing time, it requires additional resources like support, guidance, and money management.

Money has the ability to do many things: buy food, books, and even happiness. Money can also buy time, and more time equals the possibility of time wealth. Time wealth here is defined as the creation of extra or free time and all the things you would do if you had more time. Having the time to do or stop doing the things you want or you don’t have positive life effects. Recent studies have reported correlations of buying time as a significant factor linked to greater life satisfaction. Happiness and life satisfaction are not the same; it is worth pointing out that life satisfaction is a more permanent, long-term state of being. “If I can buy time to give me more lasting experiences and less fleeting moments, sign me up.”

You might wonder, “How can I buy more time and make more money to buy this time. The hours are already tight and the money flow ain’t quick enough.”

A fix that requires both your patience and commitment is to continually make slight adjustments to your daily life. For some, putting money towards typically DIY tasks, cooking dinner, cleaning your apartment, car washes, and other services is an easy solution for time scarcity. For others, increasing time wealth requires more planning, patience, and the process of evaluating personal desires.

“By sticking to a balanced budget, you can afford to spend on these worthwhile activities, invest in your future, and have a little fun spending on yourself. Stick to your plan but also leave yourself some room for error to cover those moments when restraint is lacking.”

A Balanced Life 

You can increase your time wealth by engaging in time-saving activities. Do not give up on the activities you love cold turkey. Instead:

  • Take an inventory of what you spend your time doing for a week or more. Jot down any activities that take up time. Be honest and concise.
  • Review your activity log. You’re sure to find the time you’ve squandered away scrolling through media sites, checking email, phone games, or some other activity of distraction. Note: Scrolling social sites and checking email is not bad, however, a portion of the time spent engaging in those activities can be incorporated in your life, in a way that serves you beyond moments of procrastination or unproductivity.
  • Do the calculations. Identify where you can make better uses of time (i.e. I have 3 hours of time to read a book or organize a project if I don’t check my social sites continuously, use a food delivery service, and take the bus instead of driving)
  • Put your revelations into practice. Commit to the process that is time management and exercise discipline. This stage is where accountability partners and support will come in handy.

Creating a balanced life involves time management. When the days seem long and endless, focus less on managing work and home responsibilities, and more on spending time doing the things that are most meaningful. A balanced life isn’t achieved solely by managing time, it requires additional resources like support, guidance, and money management. Most evident, a balanced life will require a steady stream of income in order to be sustainable.

A Balanced Budget 

By utilizing the activities below on a daily basis and keeping track of your finances, you allow yourself to make new life-changing habits that will increase the time you spend engaging in meaningful activities and add money into your bank account. Like the balanced life activity, you will want to keep track of your expenses.

  • Keep track of spending for 3 months. This is a good rule of thumb to get a clear picture of your financial responsibilities and flexible spending. You’ll subconsciously begin to tighten up your spending habits when you see how much money you’re spending on status goods, self-care, and impulse buys.
  • Assess your spending. Do your habits reveal that you spend more money on eating out that is going into your emergency fund or savings account? The practice of saving and investing money is vital to creating generational wealth and sustainability.
  • Identify where you can reallocate funds. This worksheet will show you how much money, based on your income, should be going toward fixed, flexible, and future expenses. Always aim to designate no less than 20% of your income to savings and wealth building tools, 50% to fixed expenses and necessities, and 30% to flexible personal and lifestyle expenses
  • Incorporate your new spending structure into your life. Using applications like Mint, Betterment, Freeman Capital and You Need A Budget, make money management and wealth building more attainable. You’re aware and involved with how you’re money is being spent while a tool does all the hard work and maintenance for you.

Sticking to fiscal habits like auto withdrawals, minimizing dining out and instead of cooking meals,  will set you up for a future of time wealth. These money-saving activities and management tools should be a priority consideration in budgeting your needs.

Your money and your time will not be in surplus overnight. You will have to exercise restraint and commit to making real changes in your lifestyle to affect how much time and financial resources you have in abundance. If you are not doing so already, try prioritizing the removal and reallocation of flexible expenses like cable, dining, and travel to increase your savings and investments. Think of it this way, the money put into savings it still money spent on you!

For a fleeting moment and memories. Maintaining a balanced budget and time management skills to achieve a balanced life, work together to achieve desired life satisfaction, a more resilient long-term measure of personal gratification. Keeping up with how you’re spending your time allows you to see where you can cut out the meaningless activity and introduce more worthwhile pursuits. By sticking to a balanced budget, you can afford to spend on these worthwhile activities, invest in your future, and have a little fun spending on yourself. Stick to your plan but also leave yourself some room for error to cover those moments when restraint is lacking.

Time wealth isn’t a luxury reserved for the rich and wealthy. Those that have wealth passed down to them, they had ancestors who committed to time-saving and wealth building. Even so, there is more evidence that reveals currently successful persons who started with nothing, practiced time and money management, and achieved a status of wealth they can pass on to their children (Master P , Jay-Z , Viola Davis).

You are so capable of achieving a healthy balanced life and a balanced budget. Set your goals and intentions, find where you can make adjustments, plan for the hypotheticals, and make the necessary changes. These changes may not come easy, seek support from family, advisors, or a mentor to guide you along this process and hold you accountable.

You’re not far from living a balanced life in the present and increasing your time wealth and resources for the future. Take this step toward time wealth, abundant financial resources, and an enviable degree of life satisfaction.

All images are provided by TONL.

Imani Johnson is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. 

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