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Personal Finance 101 (for crossfit junkies). Burpees are to fitness as budgeting is to finances. It’s not always easy. And sometimes you just have to gut it out. But it changes you... for the better. | YNAB
11 Oct 2016

Getting Intentional with Your Financial Fitness

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by Lindsey Burgess

I had a very brief fling with a FitBit around Christmas 2014, but quickly lost interest, and have since lost the thing-a-ma-jig required to charge it? So, that is probably the end of that.

In theory, I was very excited about the FitBit. I am a pretty consistent worker-outer, but I thought the fitness tracker approach would give me a little boost.

But for me, it turned out to be pretty passive. It didn’t change my behavior in any way, it was just something retrospective almost, like, “Oh, welp, what do you know, I did 9,000 steps today.”

That is not the fault of the FitBit. That is likely much more about my attitude. I didn’t bring much intention to the experiment. I think I was just looking for a quick fix; if I do this very minimal effort thing, and get some “free” benefit.

But if something requires nothing of you, it will rarely reap rewards. Especially when it comes to fitness. And money.

If I spend an hour working out, but I walk along at a snail’s pace, equally slow as the day before and the day before that, I probably won’t see much change or progress. Or any.

Should I get points just for getting to the gym? I really feel that I should, but it doesn’t work that way. Is it better to go and walk very, very slowly than not go at all? Sure, but still not getting anywhere.

And, as annoying as it may be, our money is the same.

We need to track our money, we need to know where every dollar is going and the more aware we are the better. But if we just passively track, if we are just constantly updating a spreadsheet, or just looking back in dismay at how much we spent eating out last month, we aren’t going to make any progress.

Is it better than not having any awareness of the comings and goings of your money? Of course. It is better. But it doesn’t give you a free pass from doing the hard work.

Burpees are to fitness as budgeting is to finances. There are times when you will have to say “no.” There are things you will have to wait for. There are nights when you desperately want to eat out and you have to cook. You have to decide what things are the absolute most important to you, and then do everything in your power to stay focused on those things.

It’s not always easy. And sometimes you just have to gut it out. But it changes you. And even if for the rest of your days you sort of whine about burpees, you secretly love them, because they work.

Be aware of what your money is doing, be active in learning about and adjusting your behaviors and habits, put forth the kind of effort that will reap real rewards. You will never regret budgeting (or burpees) after the fact. Never.

Your Next Step

Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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