When the original Mary Poppins was released in 1964, Mary famously insists:
“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.
You find the fun—and snap!—the job’s a game.”
Truer words have never been spoken. And, I think we’ve all felt like the Banks children at some point or another: skeptical and reluctant … and without much choice. I know that’s how I felt the first time I sat down to deal with my budget.
Well, guess what? Mary was right! And, she continues to bring wisdom into the present day. Keep reading for five budgeting lessons we can all learn from the 2018 sequel, Mary Poppins Returns.
“Can You Imagine That?”
You don’t have to be “good with money” or a math whiz to budget. You just have to get started and stick with it. If you overspend, good job (at least you budgeted). Can’t stick to your plan? That’s a sign that you’re human. As Mary points out:
“Some people like to laugh at life
and giggle through the day.
They think the world’s a brand new shiny toy.
And if, while dreaming in the clouds,
they fall and go kersplat,
although they’re down, and bent in half,
they brush right off and start to laugh.
Can you imagine that?”
We can, Mary. We can. And that’s why there’s always Rule Three and the ever-popular Fresh Start. Give yourself permission to be imperfect, to fall down. Just get back up, be persistent and imagine your version of financial peace to keep you motivated. Seriously, can you imagine that?
Remember, “A Cover Is Not the Book”
It’s normal to be a little envious of your neighbor’s shiny, new car or your coworker’s top-notch, designer wardrobe (and, don’t even get me started on the endless stream of social media posts—complete with snapshots of tropical dream vacations while you’re just trying to survive a polar vortex, nbd). I mean, we’re human, right?
But, if you find yourself turning into a green-eyed monster, stop and take a note from Mary:
“You’ll be a happy king
if you enjoy the things you’ve got.
You should never try to be
the kind of person that you’re not.”
A very good reminder that real happiness comes from being true to yourself and your priorities. Your friends’ highlight reels, including that Hawaiian getaway, may not even bring them much joy (afterall, a cover is not a book)! So, stop worrying about the Joneses, and put your dollars towards the things you truly value. Your budget and life will be better for it.
On “Turning Turtle”
If your finances feel hopelessly upside-down, stuck, like a turtle on its back—like you’ll never dig out from under your student loans or credit card bills, much less save up for retirement—take heart. You have more power than you think you do, and the first step is claiming it. Mary says:
“When you change the view from where you stood,
the things you view will change for good.”
And, of course, the best way to change the view is by—you guessed it—budgeting! Don’t be afraid to look at your balances owed and open up that stack of bills. Assess your situation, and set up a budget to help you turn that turtle (your finances) right-side up, on steady feet.
Once your stress levels fall through the floor, we doubt you’ll still think your budget’s a bore. Go on, try it.
“Nowhere to Go But Up”
For maximum motivation and fun, use your budget to plan for your biggest hopes and dreams. They may seem far from reach, right now, but use them as fuel while you conquer your debt or scrape together your first emergency fund. As the balloon lady reminds us, when your goal is from the heart, you’ll surely succeed:
“If your selection feels right,
well then deary, hold tight.
If you see your reflection,
your heart will take flight.
If you pick the right string,
then your heart will take wing
and there’s nowhere to go but up.”
And, countless YNABers have proven her right—rising from their financial woes to buy their dream cars, first homes, travel the world and even quit their jobs! So, what’s your big dream?
“Trip a Little Light Fantastic”
Finally, in order to gain total control of your money, you have to believe that it’s possible—which it is, as Mary plainly states:
“Everything is possible, even the impossible.”
Let’s turn to the words of her good friend, Jack, the leerie, to shed a little more light on this one (because leeries light the way!):
“If you hide under the covers,
you might never see the day.
But if a spark can start inside your heart,
then you can always find the way.
So when life is getting dreary,
just pretend that you’re a leerie
as you trip a little light fantastic with me.”
Ignite that spark inside your heart with a free, 34-day trial of YNAB. On average, new YNABers save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 in the first year. Plus, there’s a whole community of friendly YNABers who’d be happy to help light your way. Bet that would brighten you up a bit, eh?
What are you waiting for? Trip a little light fantastic with us!