Ok, be honest. How many times have you tried budgeting and had it not work out as planned? Are you raising your hand right now? Me too. It seems so simple though doesn’t it? You add up what you owe, you add up what you make and you make sure there is some leftover. But that is not budgeting. That is math. Budgeting is something else altogether.
Why most people aren’t actually budgeting
If you have ever drafted up a spreadsheet where all the numbers work but putting it into practice failed you have fallen prey to “fake budgeting”. What is “fake budgeting”? It’s where you are only thinking about the numbers when trying to decide how you are going to spend your money.
I know – it’s not like someone has come clean before and told you this. I get it. But that is not how you create a budget that you can actually use and live with – nor will it help you reach your financial goals.
A true budget requires more of you. How you spend your money is never just about the numbers.
- The numbers are not going to prevent you from splurging on that amazing bath bomb you are holding in your hand at Lush while drinking in the scent of promised relaxation.
- Nor will a beautiful spreadsheet help when you’ve got your favorite niece asking for support for her school fundraiser and you simply must buy the cookie dough
When it comes down to it,
You spend money for one of two reasons; to experience pleasure or avoid pain.– Sarah Blanchfield
That’s it. It’s really quite a primal, instinctual thing and trying to override your survival instincts with the logic of a “budget” spreadsheet is not going to work well.
What is a budget if it isn’t the math?
A true budget is an intentional plan for how you spend your money that is in line with your values.
When I work with a client and we are creating their budget we don’t start with the numbers at all. We start by talking about what is most important in their life. Then we talk about their passions and the things that light them up inside. We talk about their goals and what kinds of dreams they have for their future. Then we look at where they are spending and adjust it so that it matches what they really care about in their life.
Do you see how different that is? But that’s why it works. Creating a sustainable plan for how you will spend your money works best when you consider what matters most to you FIRST.
How to stop “fake budgeting”
The first thing you need to do to stop is to find out your budgeting style. I’m going to bust another myth here and tell you that your budgeting style has nothing to do with whether you are a saver or a spender. Your budgeting style is how you relate to money and financial decisions.
Every single one of us has a budgeting style. We all relate to money in one of three ways and knowing our style helps us USE the best features of that style to really be successful. That’s the key! I am a firm believer in doing what comes naturally and easiest. Because, let’s be real here, we are most likely to DO what is easy right? I know I am.
The easiest way to budget is to use your budgeting style to its full advantage. Don’t know what your style is?