Many women resist traditional budgeting because it feels so restrictive. Your new spending plan prioritizes what’s most important to you.
At the mention of the word “budget,” many people cringe. Like the word “diet,” it brings about a sense of dread, thoughts of deprivation, and the possibility of failure. Instead of focusing on the long-term rewards of effective budgeting, you start to focus on what you can’t have right now. When that deprivation mentality kicks in, it makes mindless shopping or impulse purchases harder to resist. But don’t fret; this mindset is fixable if you take a different approach with your spending plan.
The Psychology of Budgeting
There’s a psychological side to budgeting. It involves motivation, discipline, and often a bit of creativity. The idea of budgeting creates an emotional response in your brain, and it’s not always a good one. Creating and sticking to a budget can feel like yet another task on your already endless to-do list, not to mention the fact that this task also involves math, which most of us tend to avoid. But stick with me here because you do need a budget, just not the kind that fills you with an impending sense of doom.
Why You Need a Budget
As challenging as it can be, budgeting is a necessary not-so-evil. For starters, identifying where your money is going every month can help you find ways to cut back, increase your savings, and work toward your financial goals. A recent U.S. Bank study revealed that only 41% of Americans use a budget, even though it’s one of the most effective ways to keep track of our finances.
It’s time to try a better way. Budgeting can help you improve your financial security, limit unaligned spending, and avoid debt and financial stress. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase your financial control and sense of financial fulfillment.
What If There Were a Better Way?
The key to better budgeting is to make it feel less like deprivation and more like prioritization. Understanding your core values, financial and otherwise, and aligning your spending with them can be very motivating. And when you feel more aligned, it tends to lead to greater fulfillment and better habits.
Here are some suggestions for aligning your new budget spending plan with your values:
- Create a financial plan that emphasizes your goals, whether that’s early retirement, real estate investments, or that long-awaited vacation
- If you’re estimating costs, it’s always better to be conservative (i.e., overestimate rather than underestimate)
- Link your spending to things that you value—this may require some self-reflection work, but it will be worth it
- Use visuals to maintain your motivation (pop pictures on the wall over your desk or create a vision board on Pinterest), and revisit your goals regularly
- Give yourself grace and a chance to rework the numbers or try again if you fall off track
Your New Spending Plan
To implement these ideas in your own budget, download The Happiness Spreadsheet for a fresh, inspiring approach to budgeting that aligns your spending plan with your values.