Quite often people comment to me that budgets are boring and restrictive. A common stereotype around budgeting is that it removes the joys and pleasures of life and we should be living more in the moment and never feel constrained by our budget.
My budget not only helps me prioritise my joys, pleasures and occasional luxuries and splurges, but also helps me sleep at night and keeps me debt free.
The parameters are not as rigid as one would think. I’m still able to be spontaneous, yet still achieve my financial goals and dreams.
And best of all it helps keep my headspace and bank balance health and safe.
Now that you know this about me and my budget, is your mindset changing?
Let me share with you a few secrets about my budget.
- I value my budget – my budget allows me to play (i.e. spend my money), within a pre-agreed boundary so that I don’t ever get into credit card debt. This affords me a strong level of mental protection.
- I factor fun into my budget – I have a certain amount within my budget allocated to clothes, weekend entertainment and even a monthly massage. So I never feel like I am depriving myself because I have prioritised within my budget a healthy sense of balance.
- My budget allows me to identify the essentials, so I tend to those responsibilities first, before splurging on personal rewards.
- My lifestyle and financial goals are in my budget – this provides a strategic habit system to reach my goals. For example, in my budget is a monthly savings plan for a family holiday. I also have a monthly investment plan, so that I have money set aside to continue buying shares for my investment portfolio. I also have in my budget a monthly debt repayment plan for the $50,000 Margin Loan against The $1000 Project Share Portfolio. By factoring in my goals my budget helps make them happen successfully and with greater ease.
- My budget gives me choice and flexibility – if I chose not to use certain allocated amounts in my budget, for example, I chose to have a frugal weekend, I can put those savings towards something extra special that wasn’t in the budget.
As you can see – budgeting isn’t about depriving ourselves, it is about prioritising yourself, so you can enjoy living spontaneously, within respectful boundaries.
PS: By sticking to our budget and even spending below our set amount, we were able to reward ourselves with a beautiful Sunday lunch down at Bondi. When we saw the savings left, we agreed to spontaneously reward ourselves with lunch in our home suburb. We shared a bottle of wine, ordered what we wanted and enjoyed every moment.
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Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is Channel 9’s exclusive ‘money expert’, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.