A Budget Is My Friend

As I was preparing this article on budgeting for the Women’s Money Week 2012, I thought what more can be said about this subject.  Over the last year or two, it has been the most talked about subject for personal money management.   I know that budgets are not sexy.  I am not going to tell you how to budget or why budget.  I wrote about these not too long ago.

Instead, I am going to try to paint a rosy picture.  Budgeting is not straining your dollars just to pay bills or to put the handcuff on you.    The process gives you the freedom to live the life you want to live.   Without a plan, money tends to shift to the area of least resistance.  That’s the hole in your purse.  The short term immediate gratification will win every time.  You will not make the hard decision.   I am not going to say that the budget makes everything perfect. There is more to successful personal money management than budgeting.   But, you will feel better knowing that you have a plan for your spending.

Instead of focusing on the short term discomfort starting a budget may cause, think of what you will gain.   Let’s do a little exercise.  What do you really want to do that is fun?  If I asked you what you want to accomplish, you will probably feel obligated to give me a grown up, financially responsible answer, like get out of debt or save for retirement.  These are cool, but not always fun.  Life is to be lived and enjoyed, as well.

So instead, if money was not an object and you could be, do, or have whatever you want in 2013, what would it be?  Get that picture in your mind. Write it down with a date when you will possess it. Begin planning and saving for it, even if it is $10.  Now start moving: call and get prices or go out and touch and see it, if is a physical product.   Instead of doing the obvious, like whipping out a credit card or asking someone to get it for you, think about how you will obtain it creatively.

Now when you spend money frivolously, think about that goal. By default, you are changing your behavior to think and plan ahead.  You have identified a more rewarding reason in the future to curtail your spending in the present.   If you really desire X, over time, that desire should override the impulsive purchases.   When you buy something that you shouldn’t, an internal alarm will sound. That is your subconscious mind trying to help you.  Don’t ignore it, listen to it.  Before long, you will find yourself enjoying more of the things you really want to be, do or have.

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about budgeting see Budgeting Roundup.

Samirian Hill, “The MoneyWise Teacher” is founder and president of BudgetWise Financial Solutions, LLC, where they teach people to manage money wisely. She is a financial educator, contributing writer and blogger. She enjoys golfing, cooking, and reading.

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