Budgeting Truths From Wilson Phillips, Journey, and Madonna


Driving the kids home from school the other day, a Wilson Phillips song came on the radio. And not just any Wilson Phillips song—Hold On—which has long since been my karaoke jam of choice.

Obviously, I turned it up and belted it out as it was meant to be belted. My kids were horrified and asked me to stop. So, obviously, I turned it up a little bit more. (My Dad taught me well.)

I was trying to remember the last time I’d sung that song at karaoke. It’s been a long time, which made me feel old. And then I started thinking about the lyrics, in terms of budgeting, and I was officially the oldest.
But really, think about it:

I know there’s pain (Money stress!)
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains? (Debt!)
No one can change your life except for you (You Need A Budget!)

So wise! Those metaphors! So early-90s inspirational!

If you really commit to budgeting, it changes the way you think and the way you see the world. It becomes a thread that runs through every facet of your life. It becomes something you can’t really “turn off”—as evidenced by what happened next…

A little experiment about whether or not I could find budgeting truths in some of my other karaoke standards. (I couldn’t help myself!)

Exhibit A: Total Eclipse of the Heart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever (The Budget!)
And if you only hold me tight
We’ll be holding on forever (Aging our Money!)
And we’ll only be making it right (Previous financial mistakes..)
‘Cause we’ll never be wrong (You’re never “wrong”, just adjust!)
Together we can take it to the end of the line (Comfortable retirement, baby!)
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time

Exhibit B: Don’t Stop Believin’

Don’t stop believin’ (You can be debt-free!)
Hold on to that feelin’ (How it feels to be in control of your money!)
Streetlights, people

Exhibit C: I’ve Had The Time of My Life

Now I’ve had the time of my life (Being in control!)
No I never felt like this before (Not stressing about money!)
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you (Long live the budget!)

The verdict, though? YNAB’s Four Rules aren’t a gimmick. They’re about me. They’re about you and the life you want. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing budgeting truths all around you.

Don’t be surprised if you start thinking, you know, my budget must be my Lucky Star—when I’m lost, it will be my guide.

I’m sorry. I can’t help it. It follows me everywhere!