Oh, that familiar feeling. Stressed, tired, and a constant knot in your chest thinking about bills, car loans, and numerous other expenses we all undoubtedly and unavoidably must fork out each month. You’re asking yourself why is it difficult to budget? What is a budget? Why, month after month, am I in the same position? Why isn’t it working? What am I doing wrong? Why does everyone else have their life figured out and not me? (side note: don’t believe what you see on Instagram).
But seriously, you may be wondering if there is some secret budget spreadsheet you haven’t come across or some secret formula that makes you good at budgeting. After all, what is a budget anyway? I’ve got some good news and bad news.
Good news! You aren’t alone. It is something I see women struggle with daily. Struggling for so long that they start to believe that they don’t have the capability to change or improve their lives. Honestly? This breaks my heart because it just isn’t true.
Have you found yourself downloading numerous freebies all promising to have this magic budget template that is going to change your life (sounds awesome to be fair) but, once again, nothing has changed?
What if I told you it wasn’t the practical elements about budgeting that aren’t working? Our behavior and mindset towards money and budgeting are actually where that issue lies.
If we can learn to understand the way our brains work and stop working against it or in an unnatural way, it becomes easier to change our habits so that we can, not only save with ease but also start to have a good relationship with money.
Before we can look at what a budget really means, we must look at the common misconceptions that each of us at one stage has fallen victim to.
WHAT IS A BUDGET?
So, what is a budget? Well there’s the literal sense and the definition which we were all taught – and then there’s the real definition.
You may think of it as a financial plan, usually in a spreadsheet that is for a specified period to track expenses and income to project possible savings. Easy, right? This is where so many of us fall. This false hope that if we have a perfectly color-coded template to add all our expenses and income to, everything will be ok.
“Budget” has this negative connotation of something restrictive and limiting. We’ve all heard our friends and family proclaim they’re on a budget so couldn’t possibly “indulge” in their favorite coffee, purchase a non-essential fiction novel they’ve been dying to read or book that well-needed trip. After all, it’s not in the budget. Life is too short and sweet for this!
I get asked a lot why my WHY is. It’s this. Showing other women that you can have your cake and save money, too. Ok, I said I was good with money, not analogies.
Now for the good stuff. I want to show you what a budget really is and how it is really the path to financial freedom. When you stop and think, “What is a budget?” It’s really a spending plan for how you want to use your money – and that means that you have all. the. power.
By intentionally creating a budget that helps you prepare for life’s unexpected and puts you comfortably in the driver’s seat, you can change the narrative you tell yourself around money.
WHAT IS A BUDGET? ROAD MAP TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM
A budget is more than just ensuring you can survive and pay the bills each month. It’s also more than a short-term and intensive process that focuses on momentary goals. Although you must still follow a concrete plan, it doesn’t mean that this means drastic changes or restrictions. I like to compare this to crash diets. That mentality that sharp and extreme changes will give you radical results. Will this work in the short-term? Probably. Will it guarantee long-term happiness and consistent results. Nope, nope and more nope.
Your road to financial freedom starts with the mindset that you CAN stick to a budget without feelings of pain and deprivation. It’s about small, actionable, and realistic changes that when added up can have an incremental impact on your life!
We are all individuals. There is rarely (maybe never) a one size fits all method for ANYTHING. You need to figure out what is important to you. I want you to remove those feelings of shame and blame. Remove “should” from your vocabulary. You deserve to be working towards the life you dream of while enjoying the one you have now.
We aren’t meant to just survive, we are meant to live. No one should feel guilty about that fact. A scarcity mindset is out. Enjoying life without guilt while planning and preparing for your future is in.
You might be thinking at this point “Hey, Sarah, why should I listen to you?” I’m so glad you asked. I was, at one stage of my life, a homeless teenage mother. I can still feel that gut-wrenching fear of not having enough. I figured out that lasting changes don’t happen overnight but can happen. I’m living proof.
Looking for your first step to financial freedom? (remember, it only takes small and consistent action), start off by heading over to my tools and resources page to find the support that fits your situation best!
If this resonated with you and you’re looking for support, get in touch and we can chat.