KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KSHB 41 I-Team asked Latoya Woods for some advice about budgeting.
Woods is a financial coach at Kansas City's Women's Employment Network. WEN offers free financial workshops.
Woods came up with and teaches her clients what she calls the "5 Rs of Budgeting," which helps them throughout the budgeting process.
Woods says to start small.
"If you're eating out four days a week or if you're eating out for dinner and lunch at work, maybe you only eat out for lunch and not dinner," she said. "Continue to make changes over time. That way it would be easier for you to keep the changes that you made."
"Your financial goals and your money have to be realistic to you and your budget," Woods said.
She added you can plan for your favorite things. Just put them as a line item in your budget.
"I'll use me, for an example. I'm a crafter, so I'm going to the craft store, so my budget is realistic. It has a line item for crafting."
"It is going to take you a few months to get this budget right," Woods added.
She recommends not getting frustrated. Instead, give yourself some grace as you get used to the process.
"A lot of users may not have great financial behaviors. It took us a lifetime to get those bad behaviors, so give yourself some grace enough to say, 'Hey, I'm changing my financial behaviors. I'm going to have to work at this,'" she said.
"If you mess up on your budget, rebound. Get back on track," she said.
Woods jokes with clients that whenever they slip up, it's not a "free month" where they can then spend money however they want.
"If you get off track, rebound when you can, but continue to keep to the commitment that you made to yourself," she added.
Woods says sometimes you have to remind yourself of the purpose of your new financial behaviors.
"You have to know your why. Why are you doing this?" she said.
Woods also recommends letting technology work for you.
"At 12 o'clock at lunchtime and you know you like to eat out for lunch, have something pop up on your phone or your computer, saying, 'Hey, I'm saving for this car or I'm saving to pay down this credit card debt.' Whatever it is, make it visual so you help stop some of those triggers and those financial behaviors that may not have been the greatest."