In my coaching practice, one of the core life skills I help people with is learning to budget. I do this both on an entrepreneurial level, to help people who are running new businesses establish healthy money management habits, and I also help individuals on a personal level. For many when we think of budgeting we think of saving. This isn’t very exciting. And is perhaps the reason so many don’t learn to budget, they don’t believe they have money to save, or are not motivated by the idea of saving.
I do think saving is important but I find that budgeting has played an important role for me in allowing me to spend. In the past I would never allow myself to spend money on things, or I would feel guilty when I did. Feeling that my spending was frivolous or perhaps that I should have saved the money or didn’t have it to spend in the first place. I would hold off on purchasing some things that I wanted and I would feel regretful that I’d missed out. When I did buy something, I’d often punish myself for having purchased it afterward. I built up an unhealthy relationship with purchasing, where I had to act impulsively to get through my own barriers. This lead to some very unhealthy habits and it lead me into debt.
How budgeting helped me was it allowed me to put money into buckets for things like frivolous spending, buying new clothes, eating out. By approaching pleasure purchases in a more up-front manner I could enjoy them when I made for them and plan for them more appropriately. In fact if I went through a month and found I had not spend my “frivolous spending” budget, I could go out and have a fun shopping date.
Thinking of your budget from the spending perspective rather than the saving perspective can help you build a healthier relationship with the power of money and through that with your overall financial picture.