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21 Oct 2015

Think Budgeting’s Scary? Try Not Living the Life You Want…

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by Jesse Mecham

I know for a lot of people the budget is a very scary thing. Even the word—budget—gives them the shivers. I’ve already said it twice, I’ve probably scared a couple of you half to death. If you hear budget and think of prison, restriction, or slow death, OK, sure, a little scary. But that’s why I want to reframe what the budget really is.

When you start to budget, instead of thinking in terms of can’t/shouldn’t/need/must, what if you flipped it on its head and started from a place of want?

I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning saying, “I really want to rack up a ton of credit card debt today!” Or “I hope my car breaks down today! It seems like a great day for throwing money at a depreciating asset!”

You don’t want to go into debt, or stress about money or go into retirement with nothing. Of course you don’t.

Let’s try it another way: I want to retire comfortably. I want to be debt-free. I want to be ready for emergencies. I want to enjoy special memories with my kids. I want to keep the lights on for my family.

Suddenly, putting money away for retirement, saving for an emergency fund, and sacrificing in certain areas in order to go on that vacation don’t seem like negatives. Those decisions, those actions, are moving you closer to the things you really want.

It’s a subtle but important shift in thinking. It transforms the budget from something scary to something that is helping you get exactly what you want. So, if you are coming from a place of want, you have to ask yourself, “What do I really want?”

Do you want to be debt-free? Do you want to live in a beautiful home? Do you want to not have to stress about money?

We talked last time about what brings you joy—and this is not an entirely different question. At the end of the day the budget is just asking you, “What brings you joy? What do you want?”

You are spending your entire life renting your time for money, so what do you want your money to do? What do you want your time to represent?

Do you want it to represent stress and spending money on things you don’t really care about? If not, then you need a budget. You tell the budget what you want and the budget helps you get there.

Not scary at all, see?


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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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