Missing Out: Budgeting Benefits Part 1
July 13, 2021
Any Anne of Green Gables movie fans reading this here blog post? I’m talking specifically about the epic 1985 version with Megan Follows. Is there even another version? This is asked totally tongue in cheek, as I know there are others; I personally don’t think the original can be surpassed.
Anyway, there’s a scene in that movie where Anne asks Marilla: “Don’t you ever imagine things differently from what they are?” and Marilla answers curtly “No.” Anne responds, with deep feeling, “Oh Marilla, how much you miss.”
Doesn’t this just take you right back to the magic of Prince Edward Island and Gil and Anne Shirley?
Now, that charming phrase—“how much you miss”—may not seem to apply directly to a relationship with money. But there are some pretty awesome things people miss out on when they don’t manage the basics of money, otherwise known as budgeting.
The phrase “you are missing out” comes to mind often when I come across budgeting apathy or resistance. I know, now that I’m on this side of taking care of money, what I was missing out on before when I was mired in money messes.
What are some of the things a reluctant budgeter is missing out on? Some pretty awesome feelings and results. 3 are explored below:
You know that feeling of emotional calm even when things around you are busy or chaotic or stressful? Well, more of that feeling is possible when you start planning and organizing your money.
Peace of mind that bills are covered and that you have a plan for future expenses.
Mental calm that you don’t have to do thought gymnastics to keep all the money straight.
Peace of conscience that you are taking good care of something.
A Sense of Control
When so much else in life can fluctuate and change, it’s a total wonder having one little area that feels within your control. Even if you don’t directly control all the inputs and outputs and can’t predict when things like sunroofs or water heaters shatter or go kaput, you do get to exercise a reasonable bit of control in planning as best you can, then figuring out what you want to do about the emergency.
You might choose to move money around, decide to pull money from a couple different categories when an expense exceeds the money in its own category. You might decide this is a true emergency and take it, guilt-free, out of the emergency fund you’ve been building for such a time as this.
These examples focus largely on money happenings, but there are plenty of things that happen around us that can cause a person to feel out of control. Having a spending plan and a place to keep track of it help you feel dramatically less at the whim of an external event. It’s contributing to the order in the world, instead of the chaos.
For those who think budgeting will ruin the enjoyment of life, this might be the reason that influences you most. How well I remember the near-constant sense of guilt I had prior to righting my money ship.
When you avoid altogether making a plan for spending, or make one that is not realistic (this was formerly my area of expertise), or avoid participating in making a household spending plan, you tend to just feel guilty about everything you spend. You feel guilty either over what you spent, or what you spent it on, or a combination of the two. You are missing out on guilt-free spending, the double hit of dopamine when you have money allocated to buy the thing and then you buy the thing.
Buy the shirt.
Take the trip.
Save for the thing.
All without impacting your ability to pay bills or retire or help others. It’s a beautiful thing.
When you are invested in taking care of your monthly money, you come face to face with all spending. And the things that have been happening behind the scenes, often for the worse, get in front of you to now make a proactive decision about. Things don’t just continue on autopilot without your input.
Budgeting brings you face to face with your actual priorities and habits and gives you a beautiful opportunity to choose intentionally.
Could you use more of those benefits and results in your life? I bet you just nodded. And we haven’t even gotten started on the more money you will have, even while your spending stays similar to your present spending.
This warrants its own blog post, one I very much look forward to sharing. Let these ones percolate for a week and stay tuned for the next one.