Why I Love My Budget (For Serious)

 

Hey everyone! I am currently on my way to St. Thomas (WOOHOO!) and have some wonderful posts lined up for while I’m gone. I always love finding new blogs, so I hope you enjoy these great writers who were actually willing to post for me :P

Today’s guest post is by Emily from Evolving Personal Finance. Emily is a graduate student in North Carolina and writes about life transitions, finances and relationships, and living well on less.

I fall more in love with my budget with every year that passes, and I think that you should love your budget, too!

It’s taken me some time to understand the true meaning and utility of budgeting, but after five years of practice and honing I’m ready to share with you the reasons it’s grown on me so much.

My Budget Reflects My Values

This is a truism that works both ways – you can identify your values by how you spend your money and you can direct your spending to be more in line with your values. For example, my husband and I value our relationships with family and friends, so we save a ridiculous amount of money monthly toward travel so we can be with them for weddings and holidays.

I think people feeling uncomfortable about or being embarrassed by how they spend money is just an indicator that their spending isn’t aligned with their values. Who doesn’t like their own values, right? Even if you are forgoing lots of things you love to have/do to pay down debt, that reveals your value of freedom.

Your first budget probably won’t perfectly reflect your values. Through a process of introspection and budget adjustments, over time your true self will be revealed more and more by your budget. As you clarify your values, you can use them as a scalpel to reduced expenses in non-valued areas to free up more money for what you really love.

My Budget Helps Me Execute Smart Decisions

I try to make spending decisions easy on myself by putting a plan together ahead of time when I’m at my most rational and wise. If I’ve already allocated my money according to my values, I don’t have to use up my self-control by making yes-or-no spending decisions over and over again on the spot.

First things come first out of our monthly paychecks: giving, saving, rent, and utilities – all the discretionary and variable spending comes second. I can feel confident all month long that I’ve done the right thing with the bulk of my money because my budget assures it.

My Budget Frees Me Up to Spend without Guilt

I admit I’m sort of a tightwad! My husband has told me that my version of being frugal is to not buy things. But my budget helps me counteract my extreme nature, just as it can for spendthrifts.

When I was being super wise and putting together my budget I told myself that it’s healthy to spend a certain amount of money each month on discretionary treats like eating out, entertainment, and clothing purchases. Seeing that money has already been allocated for those purposes helps me spend without guilt or remorse.

I hope that you can now see your budget as a great tool that enables you to be the self you want to be!

Is your budget your friend or foe?

What values does your budget reflect, and what do you wish it did?

Comments

  1. LivingDFRocks! says

    Good post! I have been using a budget for years and it has really helped me to manage and direct my money with much more ease.
    My recent post My Weekly T.G.I.F.

  2. Lena says

    Great post! I don't know where we would be without a budget. it doesn't just help us be accountable and make goals but it helps our relationships to when we are on the same page and when we both know what our goals are.
    My recent post Can't even type…

    • Emily @ evolvingPF says

      I totally agree. A budget is really a written representation of your values, and putting it down in black and white helps communication between spouses so much. You really have to articulate why something is or isn't important to you when you're working with another person.
      My recent post Weekly Update 43

  3. ashleenikol says

    My budget is both a friend and foe. Sometimes it works out great and then other times, I don't know what happens. Great post, Emily :)
    My recent post Searching for the Perfect iPhone Case

  4. wmwo says

    My budget and I are friends for sure! I remember what it was like trying to decide whether I should fill up my car or buy groceries first, because I wasn't sure how much money I really had available at that point in the month. My budget helps me to breathe easier knowing not only do I have money, but I'm working towards my goals.
    My recent post 52 Cards

  5. Amber says

    I have tried making a budget, but I just cannot get the hang of it. I tend to forget something or something comes up. Plus, we’re a couple that has tons of debt. Right now, we’re just trying to put everything extra toward that. I know that’s awful! I will say that I do use Mint.com so every few weeks I’ll go on and see how much I’m spending in different categories. I know a budget is super important, but I just can’t find a way that works for us. Plus my checks fluctuate so I’m just glad that none of our bills are behind and we’re able to put toward debt.

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