Call me crazy but I love budgets.
By the time we are five minutes into sipping coffee together, you will know: I love budgets, budgeting, and busting budget myths, and I think you should too. Did reading that make you just spit out your coffee?
Track with me.
How the average person feels about budgets
Budgets are those poor misunderstood magical creatures that are often maligned as these negative, unlovable, uninvited nuisances. Some people treat them like exercise. You don’t want to do it, you’ll make every excuse not to, but dadgum it, your doctor said you’d better.
Well, that example doesn’t always work. Some of you reading this LOVE your goat yoga and your pelotons and your jiu jitsu classes.
Maybe it’s more like cleaning your room as a kid: Mom and dad said you had to, period. But you can’t wait to get back to your friends. That’s not a good example, either, so many of you love Mari Kondo and sparking joy around the house by throwing away all your children’s things.
Maybe it’s like taxes: MAN you can’t wait to get your taxes done so you can get back to real life. That’s it. No one likes doing taxes!
Well, maybe CPAs enjoy doing them…
Budget myth: They are an unneccessary nuisance
Regardless of the lack of perfect analogies, (people mistakenly think budgets are like colonoscopies?) The budget myths that so stubbornly persist start with the mistaken belief that budgets are nothing but a chore. You’ve heard it:
“Budget meeting? More like a straight jacket fitting appointment”
“I can’t wait until I don’t have to use a budget anymore.”
“When things are tight I have to -agh- budget!”
I’ve heard each of those thoughts from someone in real life, and I’m sure you’ve seen the budget shade thrown on social media, in movies, or just from your friends.
Enough of that negative talk: You must do a budget.
Budgets free people. They bring couples together. Finally, budgets make people millionaires!
Second of the budget myths: They restrict
Truth: Budgets free people
One of the budget myths I hear people hang onto every day is that idea that they don’t want to be bound into a corner. Let’s remember something: the Bible says the borrower is slave to the lender. It likens someone in debt to prey about to be taken by the hunter. If you are in debt, you are not free, and budgets will help you become debt-free!
If you are feeling ashamed like I have for being deeply in debt, or feeling so behind on retirement, or stressing because you make good money but having nothing left – a budget will free you.
When you have a plan for how you’re going to spend your money, instead of spending it and wondering where it went, Dave Ramsey rightly says budgets make you feel like you’ve given yourself a raise.
This is all because our debts and mindless purchases are the restrictive things in our lives. The budget truth is that budgets free people – when they use them.
Budget myth: I can do it alone.
Truth: Budgets bring couples together
Actually, having a shared vision for where you want your family to go is what will bring couples together. Stephen Covey says begin with the end in mind. A budget lets you begin a plan that will take you to whatever end goal you have in mind. Then and only then, once you have your joint vision, a budget can helxp make it happen. For example:
“We want to pay for our children’s tuition so they never take out a student loan.”
Great family goal! Without a budget, the next step after having a joint goal, this will be nearly impossible. Determine how much tuition will cost, and divide that total by how much time is left for you to save up that amount. Then put that monthly expense into your budget as a sinking fund saving item.
Now whenever you think about a purchase large or small, you can compare how taht will fit in with or derail your plan – thanks to your budget.
Last of the budget myths: They’ll show I can never reach my goal anyway.
Truth: Budgets make your income work harder for you
That’s because they empower your income to do smart things.
Without a plan for your money that you actually prioritize and then follow through on, all the hard earned money you gave the majority of your week to, (Ahem, 9-5 Monday through Friday, some weekends and overtime required) went to eating out, playing games on your phone, to Amazon, and whatever other impulses seemed like a good idea at the time but you don’t even remember them now. Was reading that painful? Good! I want you to read these words and choose to do a budget for your own good – and then see the freedom that comes with it. Financial expert Rachel Cruze says “Budgets give you permission to spend.” And it’s true – you give yourself permission when your financial actions line up with your financial plan: Your budget.
We busted those budget myths! So… what is a budget?
They are plans for your cash on paper – digital or physical – before the month begins, that shows how you’re prioritizing your money. They are your personalized blueprint for your money.
For our household, a budget looks like this:
10% We give to God through our church tithe
15% Investing: We put aside 15% for our grown selves later
26% Savings: We save for expenses we know are coming and we save for big purchases.
18% House: That’s our rent, utilities, water, internet, etc.
6% Transportation: That’s gas.
10% Groceries and dog food.
6% Babysitters. P.S. This part varies wildly.
10% Spending. This is our guilt-free pleasure spending on eating out or buying stuff or doing stuff or giving stuff.
We plan down to the penny how we are going to prioritize our money, every single month. That’s not a budget myth either, it’s a best practice I encourage y’all to adopt!
Sign up and I’ll help you bust those budget myths in your email right now, plus provide fresh ideas to keep your budget game strong every month after that!
Me before budgeting: I’m going to hate this.
Then me, budgeting: I hate this I hate this I hate this.
Me after budgeting: Athena herself has blessed me. No debt can defeat me. Fire runs through my blood and my bones are crafted from steel. Tremble, mortals, for I shall LIVE FOREVER. 🔥