Could Your Attitude Be Hindering Your Budgeting Success?


From Podcast #176: Is That Budget Half Empty or Half Full?, the one in which Jesse dispenses a little relationship advice free of charge.


The question is, in this pursuit to budget and save more money, what were your initial motivations?

As you recognized your need for a budget, were you saying, “I need to handcuff myself. I need restriction. I need to put myself in a metaphorical prison where I can’t spend my money anymore.”

Or were you saying, “I need a plan. I need to reach my goals. I need focus.”

Is the budget a half-full or half-empty kind of thing for you? You know the old anecdote, you show someone a glass of water and one person says, “It’s only half full! What the heck? I wanted more,” while another person says, “It’s half full, thank goodness! I’m thirsty.”

It’s worth taking a few minutes to think about how you view your budget and how might it be affecting your attitude and your decisions.

Are you viewing your budget as something that’s restrictive, that’s forcing you say no all the time? (And lest I need to remind you once again, the budget doesn’t force you do to anything. It gives you information and a framework within which you then decide what you should or shouldn’t be doing, based on your priorities.)

If you approach your budget as something restrictive—a financial prison—it will impact your success. It’s like a diet where you never get a treat or a day off, that might work for a short period, but in the long run, it’s going to back-fire big time.

I would encourage you to adopt a glass-half-full budgeting mentality. Why does your budget exist—so you can spend guilt-free? So you can achieve your goal of purchasing something that only you care about that none of us would understand but you love it and you want to spend a lot of money on it and the budget lets you do that, guilt-free? So you can reach your long-term goals? So you can stop stressing about money and get a good nights sleep?

This is also important in relationships, especially if you are trying to get a partner on board:

“Oh my gosh! Isn’t it so nice to have the cash here to buy this thing that we really wanted?”

“Hey! This food, don’t you think it just tastes a little better knowing we haven’t put it on a credit card, or knowing that we’ve got the money set aside for the next credit card with no sweat, no worry?”

“I cannot believe we just were able to pay our car repair with money we had on hand—that feels so good!”

You see, these are all budget-half-full remarks. And when budgeting with a partner, it’s good to focus on these types of positives.

Your partner: “Hey, can I buy this?”

You: “Well, is it in the budget?”

Your partner: “I don’t know.”

You: “Let’s see. Let’s look at it.”

It’s the little things, because with a budget, the answer is never no, it is just a matter of time and how you prioritize. You can do anything with a budget, you just can’t do it all right now. Whether that is negative or positive depends entirely on your perspective.

Find ways to make the budget be a positive driver with yourself and in a relationship. It’s worth it.

Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this.


Until next time, follow YNAB’s Four Rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this.For more about how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster—subscribe to the You Need A Budget podcast today!