If you have and keep a budget you might know what I mean when I say that sometimes we get dirty looks when we mouth the word “budget.” For some reason it has a stigma to it that makes the non-budgeting folk wrinkle their nose. Like going on a budget is the end of life on planet earth. If you have been hesitant to create your first budget, we are here to help relieve some of the misconceptions about budgeting that might be holding you back from taking control of your money.
It might first help to define the word budget. My personal definition would be: having a plan for where your money goes before spending it. Intentionally planning for expenditures on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, yearly). Go ahead and call it a spending plan if the word budget really rubs you the wrong way.
Misconceptions About Budgeting
- “I won’t be able to buy the things I want.” Quite the contrary. Budgeting has allowed us to set aside the proper funding to pay for the things we want with cash. Things like a minivan, landscaping and camera just to name a few items. Of course it’s not all about material possessions, but we just don’t want this to hold you back from getting on a budget.
- “All my bills get paid. What more is there?” All of our bills got paid before we started a budget, too. That’s just being responsible. A budget gets you beyond the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. It will show you where all of your money is going so that you can re-allocate to the areas that really matter (saving for emergencies, retirement and your kids’ educations).
- “I use my credit card for everything and pay it off every month.” Been there, done that. Never saved a dime. We earned a few gift cards through points systems after spending thousands of dollars, but ultimately we spent more because it was easy and emotionless to swipe a card. When we have a budget, it’s easier to stick to our plan every month simply knowing that every dollar has a name.
- “I don’t spend more than I make.” That’s the trap we were in. We weren’t spending more than we made, but we also weren’t saving any money or moving toward any sort of financial goal. If you want to be intentional, you need a plan.
- “I don’t know where to start.” Start by reading our post about creating your first budget. Or take Financial Peace University. It’s a great way to get focused and figure out how to make a budget work for you.
The reason we budget is so that we can get ahead, and so that we can intentionally enjoy our life. We give up Starbucks trips and lunches out every day so we can have things like iPhones. This matters more to us.
Having a budget allows us to set priorities for the things we want to spend our money on. We say no to things like going to the movie theater so that we can say yes to going out to eat with friends when the opportunity arises.
The point is that it’s YOUR budget and your money. Do with it what you want, but do have a plan.
We love us some budgets here in the Williams household. It’s been a saving grace not only to our pocketbooks over the years, but also to our marriage. It’s helped our communication immensely and has helped get on the same page with our finances.
It’s even trickled over into other areas of our lives. Because, of where we are with our budget, it’s allowed us to invest in areas of our lives that we have been neglecting due to the cost. Right now that means investing in a wellness coach/chiropractor that’s helping us get healthy. And eating healthy pretty much means forking over some dough. But not bread dough…bread is full of sugar…
Have a question about budgeting? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.