Budgeting – The First Step to Financial Success

Everyone wants to be Financially Wealthy including you, but do you know that first, you have to become Financially Healthy. People who don’t care about their physical health always have a problem in later years similarly people who are not financially healthy never become financially wealthy.

How many times it happen that you think that your finances will improve if you get a good raise in salary from your current employer or change in the job – just analyze your income in the last 4-5 years. I believe in most of the cases it would have been 50% high but does that significantly improve your finances? Now don’t say this is because inflation was so high in the last couple of years. Inflation never asks you to buy the latest gadgets or buy the stuff which you hardly need.

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So are you done something different with your finance in the last 5 years – if the answer is NO, why you are expecting a different result?

Must Read- Budget for your savings and not spending!

Let me ask how much money you have in your savings bank account? You have 2 mins to tell me. So easiest way will be looking at your passbook or the SMS from a bank or checking your account online. But don’t you think something is wrong here?  Should your bank tell you how much money you have or you should tell your bank that you will hold xyz amount in your savings bank. And then you know what happens – your cheque bounces in spite of what is your income.

Must Read – Child Future Plan – Complete Guide

How you can improve your financial health?

Budgeting is the first step of financial planning & it is also the only panacea for good financial health. If you don’t want to make budgets & stick to it – you need to rethink your decision. You may think this decision will not have much impact on you but you are sadly mistaken, if you are not making budgets it will impact you & your loved once. Many studies Cleary indicate that financial issues are the biggest reason of family disputes including divorce.

With Technology, every day we are finding new ways to spend our money without realizing its long-term impact. How many times does it happen that people say I have sufficient balance on my credit card rather than saying that I have sufficient balance in my bank account.

If you don’t have a budget how will you know how much is too much?

Must Read – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs & your financial goals

“I need it now” syndrome

The biggest problem of not having a budget is I NEED IT NOW. It’s good I NEED IT NOW, there is a good discount I NEED IT NOW, my friend bought it I NEED IT NOW & the story continues. Are you a kid?? Don’t feel guilty you still have time to improve it.

Nothing in this world is Silver Bullet. Someone rightly said, “A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.” If you don’t do it right & do it now – you will be right there where you started or even worse.

Read – Your Chartered Accountant is not a Financial Planner / Advisor

You should (not) learn from Global DEBT Crises

The whole world is facing crises be it US or European nations. What’s the problem? Debt. What’s the Solution? Reducing Debt. What they are doing? Increasing debt. This same thing happens when individuals enter into a debt trap – they take more loans to repay the earlier loan. They don’t see that in the whole process they are increasing debt rather than decreasing it. Do you know US citizens were spending more than 110% of their earnings and now you know what is happening?

Do you discuss your finances with your spouse?

Normally it happens that men take a major financial decision (from my experience as a financial planner – I will love to be wrong) & women try to handle day to day finances. My only suggestion is budget is the only opportunity where you both have chance to work together on your finances – and this can be just beginning. If someone is a sleeping partner in financial matters – still outcome is going to impact him/her. Problem is people make decisions in vacuum without checking its short term or long term impact on the goals.

Check – A Dynamic Life cannot have a Static Financial Plan

You are a Company

Most of you, who are in job or running your company, have you ever thought how your company manages their finances. Can any big or even small company survive without building budgets & sticking to them? You assume your family is a company and you are CFO (chief financial officer of it) – now your target is that this company should perform better & achieve new heights. So start budgeting…

Must Read: Guide to Financial Freedom (you can also download budgeting worksheets)

Needs Vs Wants

When you don’t have budget everything looks important & necessary. Let’s assume that you wasted Rs 1 lakh this year as you were not able to differentiate between need & want. Check how this is going to impact your retirement corpus – depends on how many years are left in your retirement.

Read – What is Financial Planning?

“A need is something you have to have; a want is something you would like to have.” Sometime this is not about Rs 1 Lakh but much more than that. We all know car is a depreciating asset – if someone would like to replace his car, replacement can be with Rs 5 Lakh car & may be with Rs 10 Lakh car. Or a vacation this year – vacation in India Rs 50000 but vacation abroad Rs 300000. You have to define what a need is & what a want is?

So next time when you see a hanging gadget at a throw away price or a sale tag at your favorite mall, simply go back to basics. Ask these questions to yourself:

  1. Do I need this or is it a want?
  2. If yes, do I need it now?
  3. What are the saving/investment that I would have to forgo to buy this thing?
  4. Did I plan for this purchase or budgeted for it?
  5. If not, to what extent will it dent my estimated savings of this year?

You may even take help of your spouse in finding the answer to these questions. And even if your answer is “buy it”, why not delay buying decision by one week.

And in no way this means that you should keep yourself aloof from leading a good lifestyle. But, all expenses which have a bearing on your long term savings/investment related goals should go through the screening process of BUDGETING. Start doing this and check for the results.

If you are already doing it please share the “before & after” results in the comments column. And if you are not making budgets comment section can always be used for making confessions.

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Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice & TFL Guide Blog in 2009. "The Financial Literates" is a dream & mission to make Indians Financial Literate.


  1. Hi Hemant,
    You have hit the nail on the head. Any finance journey starts with a BUDGET. As basic as it may seem, most of the households do not have a budget to see which areas are the most expensive ones and if any adjustments can be made to reduce the impact on savings.
    Budgettting also helps in future investments and life goals and making informed decisions. Good write up and keep the good stuff coming 🙂

  2. Good basic tips which are often overlooked.Control desires and plan to achieve your desire by regular savings.

  3. Hi Hemant,

    What U hv told is absolutely true… In fact I hv already implemented each & every points that you have mentioned above. Only this way I was able to save 47% of my income every month.

    B4 Budgeting it was 0%… So, now I feel in control of my Finances and hv peace of mind…


    • Hi Natz,
      Thanks you shared this – hope this will motivate other readers to start budgeting. 47% is awesome number 🙂

  4. Dear Hemant

    Thanks for your lessons/articles, i am sure it really helps a lot for the readers. I started to read your blog since last feb and surprisingly i managed to save/invest upto 1 lakh in 3 months period, before it took at least 1 yr to reach this amount. Thanks a lot..

    and certainly sharing your blog with all my coworkers and and friends …. still continuing..

  5. Hi Hemant,

    I have been preparing budget since last year and i am totally aware of my expenses, investments etc. Budgeting has helped me a lot to plan for different things. I can say that i have a good control over my finances since last year.



  6. Hi Srivatsan,
    Yesterday I got an interesting message – don’t read in context of your comment, even I don’t want NBW from AIDWA.
    Lot of Men don’t realize the true worth of their wives………
    ……………. until a judge decides the Alimony amount. 🙂

  7. Hello Hemant,

    Since I joined into this blog, I am regularly reading your articles, those are really impressive and making everyone to think a lot. Thanks for your articles and especially for your time. I really salute for all your notes.
    And now I am scarred and I dont know where I stand financially. If I provide you some details about me, will you guide me how should I manage my finance ? if you say yes I will provide you my current financial status ( since, I do not waste your time ).

  8. Though I have been reading articles regardig per. finance for the past 10 years I haven’t came across like yours which is very sharp (for those who understand them clearly) and yet very simple. Earlier I used to save for all my goals without target & budget. After Budgeting, one way I found to stick to my investment requirements is to follow the the Rule is ‘Income – Savings = Spending ‘ which gives me confidence that I will acheive all of my goals with less difficulty which could not been done without BUDGETTING.

  9. Hey Hemant,
    Once again its a marvellous article. Thanks for the same.
    Let me share that being wife I do my part of budgeting for sure. I save 70% of my monthly salary but as any middle class woman I get confused when it comes to invest the amount.
    With the help of your articles and learning out of it, I have got PPF with 2000 monthly deposit. Also I buy 2 gm gold just to keep it secure for my son’s marriage (which is a responsibilty after 22-25 years).
    I still have money which I want to invest through SIP. But market volatility scares me as at present I an not in a position to lose money.
    Please advise and correct me where ever you know I am wrong.


    • Hi Nishi,
      You will not learn investment game without entering the swimming pool – start with small amount in some balanced fund.

    • Nobody wants to lose money. All investments carry some amount of risk. Investments are not for risk averse people.

  10. Most people have very weak basics and they can not progress unless they get their basics right. There has to be someone to teach basics.

  11. It is easy for us to say to hold money in savings bank. But now a days adverstisements motivate us to an extent that we will spend the amount. We do so because we know we have some cushion. So I feel one should start investments into right instruments regularly without posessing more amounts in saving accounts. This way even our money can grow more

  12. True indeed, The future belongs to savers and not spenders. Some times I feel pity for the people who splurge, they do not get bothered because they fall in higher bracket income. But does it justify to blow away the money? God help them.
    In today’s technological times, every body is bombarded with some or the other thing via clever advertising. Many people get carried away and spend at the spurn of the movement. But wiser is the person who ignores them and spends only for the badly needed things.
    If people start saving more and spending less, they will be a happier lot in future.
    Well budgeting plays an important role in deciding where to spend and where to save for the future. If someone is not budgeting then at least he/she must help oneself by spending bare minimum and save. And the savings should be channeled to long term capital protected and growth oriented investments.






  14. Dear Sir,

    Good article. Keep it up!. You are doing a yeoman service to the society, where people have forgotten the basic rules of savings due to so many distractions arising due to the unbridled expenses that are expended by the present day young generations, often many a time exceeding their income limit which eventually push them in to debt trap. As you rightly said if they are able to distinguish between the need and wants, then their life would be pleasant for ever.

  15. Dear Hemant,

    Real Eye opener… Al your articles are simple, clear and precise.

    Good work. Keep going.

    Sanooj S

  16. Hi Nice post.
    What’s your view on Aviva Health Secure the latest plan they are offering online?
    plz advice.

  17. spendful. com

    This proves useful for Budgeting as well as tracking and following your budget.

    Budget is useful only when you track your expenses with your budget… This site is very useful for this purpose… use it you will never forget it…

  18. nice one
    i wud like to ask one doubt….i hav done SIP in 4 mutual funds for last 9 months…market was steady( no profit), but now its done well…..good profit….should i ignore and continue my SIP, or book profit by keeping it in debt fund and re-enter the fund later. Please tell about this BOOKING profit …to do /not to do. Is it good to close my eyes and just stick to continue SIP like a rock immaterial of the ups and downs….??

    • Dear Seenu,

      SIP is one of the good tool available to benefit from the compounding. The longer is your horizon more will be your wealth creation. If you have allinged these investment with your goals then you should stick to your objective. Monitor your investments periodically for any underperformance.

  19. Hi Experts,

    I am 30, married since 5 years & with 2 year kid. My goals are buying house (2 years from now), daughter’s study & marriage, pension (needed 25 years from now) & a significant health corpus. I don’t have any loans/debts etc. Could you please comment on & suggest/modify my MF portfolio below ( started since Dec, 2011 ) ? Any advice from your side would be highly appreciated.

    Fund Category Monthly Allocation
    ICICI Pru Focussed Bluechip Equity Fund Large Cap 3000
    ICICI Pru Discovery Fund Midcap & Small cap 3000
    IDFC Premier Equity – A (G) Midcap & Small cap 3000
    SBI Magnum Emerging Busi (G) Midcap & Small cap 5000
    UTI MNC Fund (G) Diversified Equity 2000
    Reliance Gold Savings Fund (G) Gold 2000
    SBI Magnum FMCG Fund (G) Sectoral-FMCG 3000


  20. God bless you . You are doing service to humanity which is service to God. thanks and best regards.

  21. ALLur writings are like a close freinds advice,who cares us more and pacify the unreasonable fears and doubts. THANK U JI.

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