When I got my first job in high school and went onto college, I never really wanted to budget my money. It may sound silly to you, because it definitely sounds silly to me now looking back on it, but to me budgeting used to mean “no fun”. Let’s save money, plan out groceries, project my utilities, etc. etc. and spend no money on the “fun stuff”.
Once I bought my first house following the year I graduated college, it was inconceivable not to have a budget. Property taxes, my car, gas, groceries, utilities, cell phone bill, blah blah blah! The list goes on forever. It was not feasible to just spend some money going out or going shopping and “let’s just hope I have some money for my mortgage at the end of the month”.
That sounds so irresponsible, doesn’t it? To be completely honest, it was very stressful!
So then I made a budget, and it’s been super helpful ever since. The point of this post, however, is not to tell you the story of how irresponsible Emma became a [more] financially responsible Emma, but instead to share with you WHY you might enjoy a budget also.
You have more spending power.
Imagine: (or don’t imagine, because this is a very real scenario that could be taking place right now for you) The Carolina Panthers are playing the Baltimore Ravens, and several of your good friends ask you to join them at the bar to watch the game. You don’t get paid until tomorrow and your last paycheck took a beating due to your rent and utilities.
With a budget, instead of saying “sorry y’all I can’t because I’m lame and poor” I look at my budget allocations and realize YES! I have $29.00 left to put towards bars and going out. To make this last a little longer (hey, we aren’t even halfway through August!) I would probably grab dinner at home before going out to save on food, and ask about the drink specials. Since I probably won’t want to spend the money on an Uber, I’ll either ask a friend for a ride, or more realistically stick to a very strict limit of 2 drinks.
You spend money intentionally, on the things you value.
It is extremely easy for me to go by Starbucks on my way to work (let’s say, for the sake of argument, every day of my life). If left without constraints, I’d easily spend $3.00 or more on a coffee drink, “just because” and because hey, $3.00 really isn’t that much money. $3.00 adds up – quick. That’s $15/work week, $60.00 a month, $720/year! Yikes!
Am I saying don’t drink Starbucks? OF COURSE NOT! But be intentional – limit to once a week, or treat yourself for doing well or meeting a personal goal. Personally, I’d rather put $720 towards a weekend beach trip with my girlfriends or fiancé than an iced double shot with toffee nut.
You are able to plan for really awesome or really not so awesome surprises.
Again, imagine with me – It’s Friday night, you sit down on the couch to enjoy a pizza after a very long stressful work week, and for some crazy reason you look up to realize there is water running out of your ceiling over your fireplace (#homeownerprobs). You find out the next day that you have a cracked shower pan upstairs not covered by your first year home warrantee and instead you’ll have to file a claim with your homeowners insurance and pay your entire deductible. Let me tell you, this was not a fun expense by any means but boy was I glad I had savings when this happened!
A more fun scenario: Your amazing boyfriend proposes to you at the North Carolina State Fair (isn’t he precious?! He’s staying around for a while) and now we have a wedding and honeymoon (and more specifically, a really fun awesome amazing honeymoon) to plan for. This is for real so much easier and less stressful due to having a budget, and the fact that we decided to prolong our engagement while he works on his master’s.
Life happens, good and bad. These surprise events are so much easier, and more fun, to experience when money is not as big an issue due to your ability to plan.
At the end of the day, people budget for all sorts of reasons. My main reasons above truly all arrive to the same reasons: budgeting lets me due the things I want to do, with the least amount of stress and without having to rely on the help of others. Budgeting is not meant to constrain your spending – it simply helps you spend money intentionally.
Let me know the reasons you budget in the comments below! Later y’all 🙂