A common saying is, “Personal finance is more personal than financial.” That’s true of the budgeting aspect as well. Budgeting is not difficult in and of itself. It’s really just tracking expenses and making sure you’re not wasting money. That’s really easy. So easy most people just use a simple Excel spreadsheet to track their numbers. Nothing fancy required. But acquiring the mindset of a budgeter is the real challenge. This post will share with you what you need to ingrain in your head before you can be a successful budgeter. Now… let’s talk about your mind.
Why is it you’d like to save money? Is it simply because you want more of it? Or do you have a greater purpose? I’ve found that the most successful budgeters always have a greater purpose. Here are some examples of such purposes:
- Reach financial freedom
- Enabling their children to attend college
- To be able to give a tithe to their church
- To be able to continually donate a certain sum to a charity close to their heart
- To have less of an impact on the planet
- To buy the car they’ve been dreaming about since they were 12
- To buy an around-the-world plane ticket
These are worth budgeting for, don’t you think?
It’s important to find what motivates you. Concentrate on that instead of the ‘pain’ of budgeting. Take your concentrate from whining about saving money and turn that energy into enthusiasm for the awesome goal you have to reach.
The most powerful examples from above are the ones that are greater than yourself. Thinking about your children, your church, a charity, Earth… those are huge. With those in mind, budgeting isn’t really a personal sacrifice. Once get you get these ideas in your head, it doesn’t require so much self-discipline to budget. You can release yourself from responsibility and throw it up to a greater good.
Stop with the FOMO
FOMO means Fear of Missing Out. It’s an acronym made popular by teen girls who constantly feel like they miss the best party, best football game, whatever. This fear can also be related to material goods. Maybe your girlfriends all have designer purses. Or your neighbor has an expansive lawn service that makes his lawn look better than yours. When budgeting, you need to quiet this fear. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have. MONEY. Money beats things every single time. If you follow the financial expert Suze Orman, she says, “People first, then money, then things.” I agree with that 100%. Things suck. They are definitely overrated. End the feelings of FOMO. Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t have.
Focus on the Beauty of Budgeting
Budgeting can be extremely beautiful. Budgets keep you secure. They make it so you can’t overspend. They help you sleep well at night. They make sure you have enough money for the things that truly matter. They’re beautiful, aren’t they?
Here’s How Life Can Happen if You Don’t Have a Budget…
Your car breaks down. The engine is toast. You need a new car. You don’t have enough money to buy a new car or even offer a decent down payment. You end up having to buy a car from a sleazy car dealership with a very high interest rate. You hate the car which smells permanently of cheeseburgers. You hate the person you bought it from. You hate everything about it. But what could you do? This is the car you could afford.
With a Budget…
Your car breaks down. The engine is toast. That’s okay but it’s understable. You still feel powerful. You go out and get a new car. You pay in cash so you negotiate from a place of power. You get an amazing deal. The car you own is even better than your former car. It has heated seats, multi-zone climate control, traction control… it’s glorious. And because a car had been something you had budgeting for, it was no sweat off your back. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
What Your Friends May Think
Truthfully, budgeting is much easier for an introvert. You don’t spend as much day-to-day anyway. Takeout and Netflix are all you need to enjoy a Friday night. But if you’re more extroverted, you’ll have a harder time creating and sticking to a budget.
What’s important in this time is to make sure and surround yourself by friends who have a similar mindset. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Some friends even enjoy talking about budgeting. With the right friends, budgeting can be fun. You can compare notes and challenge each other to do better. You’ll have a support system.
If your current network of friends aren’t good for your wallet, consider expanding your group of friends. I’m not saying cut anyone out completely. But find other money savvy people. You can start finding them on the Mr. Money Mustache forums, for instance. You’ll be surprised with how many you can find.
Creating a support system is important to success. Really, if you’re not getting this you need this. If budgeting is the cool thing to do, of course you’ll want to do it. There is such a thing as positive peer pressure.
Do you have the right mindset of a budgeter? If so, congratulations! If not, what will you change? ANYONE can do well with their finances.
Will Lipovsky is a personal finance freelance writer and internet marketer. His most embarrassing moment has been saying to a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.” You can get in touch with Will at FirstQuarterFinance.com.