You don’t need it because your life is boring—quite the opposite. You need a budget because your life is crazy and wild and awesome.
Most people, when they consider their cash flow, they think through what comes in and what goes out in a normal month. And we’ll hear people say a lot, “I just wish we could have a normal month. Once we have a normal month we can get ahead.” Except there is no normal month. This bears repeating and so I will: There is NO normal month.
While your income may be the same from month to month, your outflows rarely—dare I say never?—are. So if you are operating day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month with income that barely covers your perceived expenses, when a big bill or something unexpected or a great opportunity or Christmas pops up, well, that is when you go into debt.
This is where budgeting with YNAB really and truly changes lives. You have to think beyond tomorrow and next week and next month even. Do not let that money that you have right this second, burn a hole in your pocket, before you start looking ahead. Consider your bigger, less frequent bills, monthly expenses. You may not feel as flush month to month, because it won’t feel like you have as much discretionary income, except that you are really just acknowledging you will need this money for the ups and downs ahead. Your actual cash on hand will be way more than you’ve ever had and you’ll be smart enough to just let it sit there and wait for its job.
This is why, on average, YNABers tend to have fairly flush checking accounts and low stress levels. It’s not because we’re all rich, it is just the act of thinking through expenses that are coming, and putting aside money and being more than ready when those expenses come due.
The beauty of the whole thing—going back to your wild and crazy life—is it can stay wild and crazy.
By being disciplined in budgeting, and thinking through and planning for your future expenses, you don’t have money drama and crazy financial stress. But it does allow you to have the good kind of wild and crazy—cool vacations, toys you really want, experiences with the people that matter most.
That’s what the budget gives you. The budget says, “Hey, what do you want? Oh, okay. Let’s do those things together. Let’s just make sure we take care of a few things first so we can make fully informed decisions with our money.” (The budget has a lot to say, doesn’t it?)
And then that crazy, wild life that you have that’s so awesome, actually starts to feel a little normal. Every month is still different, but you’ve so normalized your cash flow, that it doesn’t impact you in the slightest.
By making your financial life very boring, you can have a far more wild and crazy life than you perhaps ever thought possible. Man, I love budgeting.
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