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
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!