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Don't Burn Out the Scrum Team In Your Back Pocket
How to Scrumify Your Budget
Reading time: 3 minutes
Just like developers on your a Scrum Team can get burned out when asked to do more than their capacity allows, your wallet can get burned out when it’s overextended.
Apply these Scrum lessons to budgeting and lighten the load on your purse.
Budgeting is complex
Recognize that the relationship between earning and spending is not just complicated, it’s complex. There are unexpected rises and falls in both wages and expenditures.
Because of this, it’s best to have a clear understanding of where you are, and a fuzzy idea of where you’d like to go. You don’t have to plan everything out from A to Z to be successful at improving your situation.
But you do need to make room in your plans to account for error, so that when fluctuations inevitably appear they won’t render your plans obsolete.
Use your debit card for your purchases, in order to have a record of everything you spend money on.
Inspect your purchases regularly.
Look over your bank statements every month to see what you’ve spent money on. Even better, use an app like Mint to track your spending in real-time. This way you can see spending across accounts, and inspect more often than once per month.
Adapt quickly and frequently.
Take this opportunity to find ways to improve your budget, trim frivolous expenses and identify charges you might not have known you were paying.
Visualize with a Kanban board
The sheer number of expenses you have may make it daunting to manage them all.
Visualize each one in a Kanban board like Trello. Drag and drop them around, label and categorize them. This will help you to understand how much you’re spending on what.
Prioritize like a Product Owner
Once you have all your expenses in Trello, you can order them like Product features, from most to least valuable.
Starting at the least valuable item on your list and asking “will my life get significantly worse if I never pay for this again?” If the answer is no, just slash it out of your budget.
Starting with the most valuable item on your list, ask “Do I really need to pay this much for this?” Look for ways you can carve a few dollars off each expense, like taking a mobile phone plan with less data included if you find that you never come close to going over your allowance.
Take it easy
Don’t punish yourself for not having a budget already.
Changing habits is hard, and if you try to make all the changes at once, you’ll likely fail and rebound into heavy spending when you rebel against yourself. Instead, make a small change and give yourself time for it to stick as an improved habit before you add another.
For instance, if you get a $5 Starbucks coffee every morning, you’ll probably identify that quickly as a place to save money. But you don’t have to just cut yourself off from the good coffee entirely.
Treat yourself Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until you don’t notice that you’re not having your Mocha Caramel Half-Caf Latte on Tuesday or Thursday anymore, then pull back a little more until it’s all instant.
Time and money are interchangeable, so trade what you have in abundance for what you lack.
If your budget is overextended, consider doing a few more things on your own that you currently pay for.
For instance, you can cancel the weekly cleaning service and clean the floors yourself if your budget is stretched.
Or vice versa, you can stop sweeping and hire a professional if you have room in your budget but no time in your schedule.
Or lean in to automation, and buy a Roomba. The upfront cost is higher, but overall cost over time is lower plus you get all your time back. I’ll never sweep again!
Understand the consequences of debt
Just like technical debt slows down your team’s ability to add value to your product, real debt slows down your ability to save and invest in things that will build wealth.
Avoid credit cards, payday loans, and other high-interest loans that will slow your progress. If you already have this kind of debt, prioritize paying it down as much as you’re able.
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