The Key to Enjoying Budgeting
Last night, I met with a couple in one of my classes and wanted to share their insight into what they were experiencing. They had come to my Budgeting (aka “Spending Plans”) class a couple of weeks earlier, and they shared last night that they were making solid progress.
They had not only gone home and talked about a household budget, but they had put one together and had been having regular discussions about it. I was excited for them because I know how a household budget can affect the family finances.
When I asked them how they were feeling about the past couple of weeks, the wife shared that they were having “fun” working on their budget. Now, you have to understand that during many of my budgeting classes, I explain how the critical step missing in virtually all failed budgets (written financial goals) makes budgets “meaningful,” but that even I – a budgeting professional – don’t think of budgets as “fun.”
So, when she said they were having fun, I had to ask for clarification. I was doubtful, I must admit. But, as she began explaining how they were enjoying the process of working together on a budget and feeling more in control of their finances each day, I could actually tell that she really was enjoying the whole process.
The feeling of lacking control when it comes to our household finances is very disconcerting for pretty much all of us. Regaining that control really can provide us with a sense of euphoria that will have us coming back to our household spending plan again and again. In that sense, then, budgets certainly can be and are “fun.” If you plan on making another attempt to budget in the future, keep these things in mind:
- Budget with the results in mind. What small steps can you take to get there? For example, if you are budgeting to pay off debt, what can you do each week to move toward accomplishing that? What is your goal pay-off date? What goal will you work on next with that freed money?
- Choose goals that are of genuine interest. Perhaps paying off debt is only necessary, but not what you deem as exciting. Consider working toward a few other goals that will grant you a sense of thrill and accomplishment. Perhaps save for a newer car, a vacation, or find a system that budgets for the regular spending of “fun money.”
- Budgets can be revised. If your budget feels too strict, it will be unsustainable. Feel free to shift things around to find a balance that is productive, yet satisfying.
How about you? What are the feelings you’ve had as you’ve taken back control of your finances? Please feel free to share.
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