Author: Steve Ehlers
Constraining. Restrictive. Cheap. No Fun. Coupon Clipping.
These are phrases generally associated when a person hears the word “Budget.” People imagine changing their entire lifestyle in order to not spend money and feeling bad whenever they swipe their card at their favorite store, restaurant, or coffee shop.
I propose a different perspective.
Encouraging. Freeing. Fun. Guilt-free spending.
A budget is not meant to restrict your spending; instead, it is meant to align your spending with your goals. Not just your financial goals, but your goals for life. Money is simply a tool we use to achieve our life’s goals. Unfortunately, most Americans do not have a plan for their money. Instead, they make their financial choices based on what they want at that moment.
I call this the October first me, versus the Tuesday at 11:45 me. You see, October first me has all sorts of goals: going on a cruise, saving for my kid’s education, retirement, and paying off debt. So when he budgets on October first he accounts for all of these goals. However, the Tuesday at 11:45 version of me only has one goal: tacos. Whether it is because I was lazy and forgot to pack a lunch or because I think, “I deserve this,” my instinct is to go grab lunch somewhere. That is where my budget comes in.
My budget puts all of my spending decisions in the hands of someone not wrapped up in the moment. Someone who has in mind my long term financial goals. He knows all of my goals, so he chooses to allocate $75 a month on frivolous spending instead of leaving that decision to the Tuesday version of me. He does not tell me I cannot have any fun. Instead, he just puts the amount of fun I can have inline with the rest of my priorities.
My budget does not feel restrictive; it gives me peace. It allows my inner-conscious to feel content and happy because I know I am achieving my long-term goals all while still getting what my heart truly desires: tacos.
Are you spending too much on tacos? Do you feel stuck on a treadmill and not moving forward with your finances? Do you want some advice on how to achieve your goals? Contact the Open Door Wellness Center today at (406)781-4414 today to set up a free 15-minute consultation with our financial coach to see if we can help.