Adjust Your Attitude
Posted by Gail | Filed under Budgets
If you’re still of the opinion that a budget is the equivalent of cement shoes, then it’s time for a shift in attitude. Part of why you can’t use a budget successfully may be because you are taking the wrong approach. If you look at a budget as a constraint, you’ll always feel squeezed. A budget should not be viewed as a stop sign for spending. Nope. It doesn’t tell you what you can’t do. Think of it as telling you what you CAN do. It’s your plan for how you will spend your money on the things that matter to you the most.
Whether you make $25,000 a year, or $250,000, you still have only so much money you can spend. And while you may think $250,000 is a lot of money, it gets chewed up pretty darn quickly.
I remember back when I was making $8,500 a year. I couldn’t wait to make $20K. I got there and then thought that if I made $30,000 a year, I could never run out of money. Yes you can. Because it’s never really about how much you make. It’s about what you do with the money.
If you want to maximize your sense of satisfaction about how you’re putting your dollars to work for you, you need a budget. That’s the only way you can plan to use them on the things you value most. That may not mean buying a new Whatever when you see one. Instead, it may mean having the kind of financial security that ensures you have a roof over your head and food in your belly.
While you probably don’t LOVE paying the mortgage, you probably really enjoy having a home you can call your own. And while grocery prices may be squeezing your ability to buy a new Whatever, it’s nice to know you don’t have to subsist on KD and wieners. Perspective is everything. Knowing your parameters – read “having a budget” — means you can work within those parameters to make every dollar you have really count.
Y’all have heard me rant on about the difference between Wants and Needs, right? Having taken care of the Needs, you then can look at your Wants. But if you’re like everyone else, you likely have far more Wants than money, leaving you feeling deprived. Then you end up hating the budget, your income and your life, so you grab a credit card and head to the mall.
How do you avoid the frustration? By shifting your attitude so that the things you Need also become the things you Want. It’s a reality of life for many that the things we Have are of far less value to us than the things we have yet to acquire. Sad, but true. If we are always taking the things we Have for granted, then it becomes easier to focus on the things we Have Not, leaving us dissatisfied and ripe for an over-spending spree.
Start approaching your budgeting with this new attitude: The things I am spending my money on are the things I want the most. Now it won’t be about what you don’t have, and your budget won’t feel like drudgery or something that restricts how you spend. Instead, it’ll be about keeping the things that you truly value front and centre in your mind so you continue to enjoy them, instead of taking them for granted.