Facts or Feelings?

Budgeting is all about numbers, black and white, facts and figures, right? Well, sort of.

Rule One: Give Every Dollar A Job is really the driver behind all our rules. Rules Two, Three and Four—they are really just appendages to that first rule of giving every dollar a job.

We teach people to ask themselves, “What does this money need to do before I get paid again?” It’s a solid question. And it’s helpful for folks sitting down and assigning jobs to all their dollars.

I love this question. Except as much as we all want to believe we are rational and logical and data-driven, most of us are driven by emotion. We are moved by our feelings—even in our finances—especially in our finances?

It might not always feel like it, but (see what we did there?) it’s the truth. Much of the time we are running on pure emotion. If you talk to an expert marketer, they will know how to tap into emotion. They don’t go off of facts; they go off of feelings.

So, now I want to think about our core question a little bit differently. Instead of saying, “What should this money do before I’m paid again?” What if we asked, “How will it feel when my money is doing this thing?”

The first question gets you to a spot where you need to be. But it doesn’t necessarily consider your real values. The second question—the touchy-feely one—could be pretty eye-opening.

Then when you’re coming to us, coming to YNAB and saying, should I save up a six-month emergency fund or should I pay off this debt or should I start funding retirement? How will you feel when your money is doing that thing? How will you feel when you are debt free? How will you feel when you’ve saved a little bit for retirement? How will you feel?

In those scenarios, it’s not facts—it’s feelings. And I believe those feelings expose our core values. Your individual values, that only you can know and decide. When you truly tap into those, then the focus and the feelings and the facts all come together, they’re just scaffolding around that building that is what you truly want.

And the budget really is just the underpinnings of that. Man, I love budgeting.


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