Bitch please, not that B Word. I’m talking Budgets. Before you roll your eyes and quit reading out of repulsion, boredom, disgust, fear, or whatever emotion that word brings up for you, hear me out.
This word used to trigger me to my core. It brought up feelings of lack, anxiety, and restriction. I would have rather volunteered to coach all my kids’ activities (tell me that doesn’t sound like some form of torture) than be forced to track my money and live on a budget. My excuses varied from “I am responsible with money, I don’t need to budget” or “Budgeting requires time that I just don’t have right now” or even “Dave Ramsey recommends budgeting and that alone is reason enough for me to avoid it at all costs.” Sorry, not sorry Dave.
I would sporadically cave against my rebellion and decide to undertake the painstaking process of entering all my income and spending into an excel spreadsheet. It served as a great reminder of why I hated the B Word so passionately, and that’s it. It was too much work to continually update it. I already knew my weak spots (Target), my lazy spots (meal planning and grocery shopping), and my procrastination areas (just cancel the Beachbody membership already, Kelly).
I could find no great reason or purpose for that kind of torture.
Turns out, I was wrong (do not tell my husband I ever admit to such things). The truth is, I wasn’t really doing my money justice. The side effects of generalizing my spending was that it wasn’t intentional. When you don’t spend without intent, you are doing yourself and your finances a massive disservice.
Tracking your money is honoring your money. You earned it, so you should treat your money with the respect it deserves. Your earnings represent so much: pride, success, tears, time away from family, progress towards your future, stress, joy, growth, and purpose. Is that kind of opportunity cost worth spending with reckless abandon?
The foundation of intentional spending is core values. If you are exchanging your dollars for value rather than goods and services, it puts a different perspective on money management. So, instead of the B Word, I think of tracking my money as a Spending Plan. It sounds so much more appealing than a clunky, restrictive, terrifying Budget ever could. A spending plan is not sacrifice or punishment. It is a goal, a plan, a gift of less stress and more design.
Knowing where your money is going, how it is working for you, and the goals you can accomplish when you give it the love and attention it deserves is life changing. You can purchase items you love and value with pride and excitement, forgoing the stress hangover that inevitably follows the reckless spending of your former self.
However, you must find a system that works for you and be diligent until it becomes part of your style, scheme, and overall agenda. Here is a hint, when you find the perfect medium for your Spending Plan, it will provide a feeling of ease, peace, purpose, and satisfaction that is priceless.
I use YNAB to track my income, spending, and Net Worth. More on that in an upcoming post!