What does a budget do? {Or: How to eat churros instead of gas money.}

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Budgeting.  What emotion do you associate with that word?  Boredom?  Fear?  Stress?

It should make you feel secure.  In control.  Confident, even.

There is a misconception floating around that budgets are restrictive.  That they zap all the joy out of life and limit your dreams.  That they make you give up your churro addiction.

First of all, you have to understand that a budget does not make any difference in the amount of money you have or earn.  Let that sink in.  It does not affect your bank account or paycheck at all.  If you make $5.50 a week or $5,000 a week, a budget won’t change that.

But a budget does have power.

It has the power to predict your next bank statement.  It has the power to predict how much you can spend on churros without worrying about gas money for work.

A bank statement tells you what happened to your money in the past, right?  It tells you how much money came in, how much went out, and can even track the where and when of the transactions.  It’s simply a report.  It tells you what already happened, much like a fitness app or a fit-bit tells you how many calories you burned or the distance you ran.

A budget does the same thing, but before it happens.  It maps out your spending ahead of time so you can see clearly what you have to work with.

The trickiest part is prioritizing expenses.

You have to make sure that your important bills (things like utilities, gas, or school payments) are accounted for on your budget before you plan to go out for churros or buy new shoes.

If you still think budgeting is too restrictive, consider this: bills come due no matter what. So, why not write them down and find out what you have left over?  If you end up with less than you thought, you’ll know to go easy on the churros.  On the other hand, you may happily discover that you have more cash available than you thought!  And that is when you tuck it away into your savings account!  …or spend it on churros and shoes.

Nah. You’re responsible.

You’ll save it.  For sure.

The shoe money, that is… it’s time for churros!

 

 

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