The Big Game of Budgeting and Savings

This past Super Bowl meant a lot because I hail from Pittsburgh. It seemed as if someone had shot electricity across the city when the Steelers won the Super Bowl. The excitement that our football team’s success brings out in everyone. Though I love the Steelers, I don’t think I’m a typical supporter. The Steelers’ offense was like watching a well-written financial plan in action. Yes, I yelled, leaped, and swung a Terrible Towel like everyone else.

You see, a lot of the things that will happen to you in the course of managing your financial plan are like the things that an offensive football team performs. Like your financial goals, the mean objective is to show forward movement and score consistently. Football touchdowns are the units of scoring. That’ll result in an economic boon for you. Even if you have a solid financial plan and offensive strategy, you will win the game by a wide margin.

The Coordinator of the Attack

The offensive coordinator’s job in football is to devise game plans allowing the team to win against any given opponent. He compiles these plans into sets of moves for various plays. The team’s offensive strategy is built around a sequence of actions and maneuvers calculated to counteract the weaknesses they anticipate the opposing defense to have. He must also assist the head coach in developing the team’s internal discipline and competency to perform well even when their scripted plays are unsuccessful.

When it comes to your budget, you’re the quarterback. You should go into the year having studied and prepared for the various monetary issues you will face. If you’ve been doing your budgeting and planning homework, you probably have a decent sense of how much the following year will cost you. Unanticipated expenditures are inevitable; an intelligent organizer, however, will have procedures to deal with them.

To succeed in your role as financial offensive coordinator, you’ll need to pool the resources of each “position” to their full potential. You will also figure out how to bypass the “defense” to slow you down.

To Defend

The defense’s main objective is to prevent you from advancing and to force you to retreat. The unexpected challenges of life are mirrored by the surprising plays a reason might make if you are unprepared. Consider some of the potential curveballs that can occur with your spending plan. On your way to work, you strike a huge pothole, ruining a new set of tires. On Super Bowl Sunday, just before kickoff, the furnace stops working. When your supervisor informs you that there will be no pay raises this year, groceries and gas costs go up. You take a nasty spill and hurt yourself so much that you must miss work for a month. You can expect the unexpected to occur.

Sometimes, you feel a supernatural power exists to cause you to sweat. The truth is that nobody is picking on you specifically because “life happens” to all of us. The key takeaway is always to come ready. You’ll be better prepared to handle whatever the “defense” of life throws at you if every member of your financial offense performs at the top of their game.

The QB

Your job as the financial plan’s quarterback is to ensure every play is executed according to the budget, maximizing profit while minimizing costs. Your playing field is life itself. You’re job as a quarterback is to identify areas of concern and opportunity and direct the team’s focus there.

The quarterback will utilize the football to lead the team ahead, and the other players will follow. When the quarterback advances the ball downfield, the rest of the team rushes to meet it. You might think of your budget as your “football” because it represents how you will improve your standard of living.

First downs in the economy

It would be best to watch for signs of improvement like a skilled quarterback for the field markers. Which identifiers can you use? The amount of money you save each month can be recorded. A savings account balance of $100, $500, or $1000 would also be a valuable milestone. These checkpoints, or less demanding objectives, serve as indicators of progress. Conversely, they may signal that you are heading in the wrong direction and that a course correction is necessary. When you have to make a purchase, a worthy goal would be to get to the first down rather than the end zone financially.

The First Line of Attack

The offensive line’s job is to shield the quarterback from the constant attacks of the defensive line. You want these guys to be large and robust since the defense’s sole objective is to prevent the quarterback from carrying out the strategy.

Insurance, preventative maintenance, warranties, recordkeeping, and planning make up your financial offensive line. My personal preference is the maintaining of records.

Poor recordkeeping is the cause of many people’s legal problems, in my experience. Without written documentation, your claim will have no weight. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy you are; your word won’t carry much weight in court. If you cannot provide proof of payment, your creditors will likely assert that you owe them money. If you can’t prove your deductions, the IRS might make you pay extra tax. Unless you can prove in writing that you did not agree to less favorable terms, businesses can claim you did.


The “penalty” for forgetting to put something in writing is often monetary. You may not be able to use the money-back guarantee you paid for if you don’t have proof of purchase. You will have to pay for the maintenance yourself. Without a written insurance coverage record, you risk overlooking a perk that could have saved you money in the long run. A penalty is any additional cost incurred due to the lack of a written agreement or record.

Positioned Receivers

Quickness is a must for wide receivers due to their limited opportunity to make the most of bigger plays. Opportunities to make a significant profit are rare. Therefore they must be able to recognize them when they present themselves.

Significant discounts or significantly improved quality aren’t as typical as annual clearances, although they do pop up occasionally. Home furnishings are a good illustration. The price tag on a new set of furniture can quickly add up. However, like how we update our wardrobes with the seasons, furniture companies and trends come and go. Since the shopkeeper wants to clear out his showroom as soon as possible, this might mean that yesterday’s hot-selling furniture is suddenly being sold at a steep discount. Now is the time to buy the furniture you’ve always wanted at a steep discount.

Free Up

In this and similar situations, the trick is to anticipate them in advance so that you can “be open” and make the most of them when they present themselves. If you’re on the market for new furniture and come across some at a steep discount but lack the funds to make the purchase, it’s a missed opportunity. This is why responsible people set aside money in advance to meet their necessities. Knowing that you will need furniture this year is a great incentive to start saving now for that large ticket item. The one thing you can count on is the need for furnishings. You can’t predict when the furniture you desire will go on sale for a lot less money. That’s why it’s necessary to 1) set aside enough cash to cover the cost and 2) establish a method to keep an eye out for sales.

On every play, the wideouts leave the formation seeking to make a big play. However, that’s not likely to happen very often. But they keep trying, so sooner or later, they must succeed. You, as a wide receiver, need to use the same approach. Don’t rush out to make a buy hoping against hope that you’ll get a considerable discount. Instead, chill out, chill out, and open up! You’ll find what you’re looking for and earn a significant win if you don’t give up the hunt.

The Backfield Runners

Rather than focusing on making huge gains in yards, a running back’s primary goal is to help the team make incremental progress. That doesn’t make them any less vital than wideouts. Any forward movement, be it 4 yards or 20 yards, is good. Football may come down to a matter of millimeters at times. A team’s fortunes can turn on those few extra inches. For this reason, any improvement is preferable to none.

If you find yourself in the “running back” role of a financial plan, it is your responsibility to advance the project gradually. What causes that to occur? I see no benefit in sticking your budget down to the last cent. Save money (“yardage”) by spending less than planned. Please explain how you manage to accomplish this. You can achieve this by spending less money overall through sales, coupons, barter, auctions, and liquidations. Because you have “created” more money than you would have had at the end of the month, your living standard will improve thanks to your savings.

Methods Manual

When it comes to life, I have a “playbook” that serves as my running back playbook. A “bargain hunting worksheet” is what I refer to it as. In one section of this worksheet, I wrote all the items I use frequently or occasionally. I also make a point of noting the pricing of everything I buy wherever I go. To keep track of my spending, I bring this page (and a calculator) with me whenever I go grocery shopping. Secondly, I can see if the price I’m about to pay has changed (gone up, gone down, or is lower elsewhere) and make an informed decision.

By purchasing strategy includes keeping track of sales prices. When I need something, I check the internet versions of local newspapers and magazines for sales. When I first started doing this, I was shocked to see that some stores’ “deals” were not discounts. The price I was paying was still less than the competition after I compared it to the pricing listed on my bargain hunters sheet. Without that sheet, I would have been enticed to buy the “deal” and pay more. What a waste of money that would have been!

A Focus on the Ends

Tight ends play various roles, including blocking for the running backs and drawing attention away from the defense so the wide receivers can make a play. In addition, the quarterback can use them as a backup plan to advance the ball if his other options fail.

My loved ones and close friends are the lifelines I rely on financially. My monetary objectives of saving and progressing toward those objectives are well known to them. They’re like extra eyeballs that I have at my disposal. A new eatery might have a two-for-one special I didn’t know about. They may have information about potential issues I do not have, such as a horrible and expensive experience with a specific health insurance plan through an employer.


If you’re a football fan, you know the euphoria after your team scores a touchdown. The thrill of a financial touchdown in your personal life is amplified since it means more money for YOU. Cutting on the football field or in your budget is challenging. Have a strategy ready. Each offensive player needs to be putting in work and making good decisions. It is up to you to coordinate the efforts of each role to realize your overarching objectives, chief among which is the maintenance and enhancement of a high standard of living for yourself and your loved ones.

Visit Bowman‘s Money College to find out more.

Bowman, Mike

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