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Budget. How to make it, follow it and still enjoy your life? That is the question. We’ll get to it but now, let’s start from the beginning.
How do you feel when you visit home of someone that you admire? Do you feel like their place is much more chic, elegant and “on point” than your own humble home? Do you start to question your own interior choices and sense of style? Do you tell yourself that one day, when you grow up/ make money /retire, you will live like them? That one day you will be able to say that you have arrived or made it? Well, I get this feeling when someone tells me that they have a budget![/wc_column][/wc_row]
I admire such people. They inspire me. I wish I had their discipline.
I tried to follow a budget many times but earlier or later, I give up and go back to living in an erratic and budget-free manner. Don’t get me wrong, I am very organized (my closet is color coordinated and I am slightly OCD). I have spartan discipline when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. But when it comes to managing my money, I leave my husband speechless. He is financially mature, he is organized and frugal. It is in his DNA. Not to mention that they teach them how to make a budget at school.
The idea of having a budget makes me feel constricted. I don’t like giving my decision power to someone else, even if it is only an Excel sheet. It is the same as if I ask someone to tell me what to eat or how to dress. Without a budget, I feel like a cowboy riding his horse towards the sunset. Like Marilyn Monroe with her skirt up. I feel wild. I feel dangerous. And nothing and no one should stay between me and my credit card.
I am exaggerating for the sake of the argument but truth be told, money stresses me. I don’t like talking about money, planning how to invest it and analyzing my retirement plan. Every time I have to discuss money with our investment adviser, I feel anxious. I prefer burying my head in the sand and if that is not enough, I cut and run (figuratively). And herein lies the problem I must admit to – when it comes to money, I don’t think. Did you know that humans make only 5% of decisions with their conscious mind? That means that 95% is made by our habits and beliefs. The good thing is that habits and beliefs are not written in stone, we can change them.
To make the whole “budget making” process easier, I decided to see my money anxiety as a way to inner growth. I keep asking myself what I am supposed to learn from my behavior. What comes to my mind is that I emulate my parent’s attitude to money. They are very laissez-faire, very hippie. Their life can be summed up by: “Naked we came upon Earth, and naked we go forth, and of all our possessions, we can carry nothing with us.” As cool and spiritual as it sounds, it is also impractical for if you put some money aside, your life can be much easier. And you can still live like a hippie. So here we are, walking through the valley of fears and pain has made some impact. I made my budget.
And this time, I believe, I can follow it.
Disclaimer: As you probably noticed, this article does not give any tips on how to make a budget like a private banker. But if I managed to elicit a smile from you along the way, than my job is done.