I’ve always struggled with the idea of living my life according to a budget. It’s not that I was too lazy to make one or too frivolous with my money to stick to it, but to me budgets seemed like fad diets, a plan for failure. I swore them both off, and if you’ve read my blogs you’d understand why, I’ve made chasing freedom (in all aspects of my life) a daily goal.
I think we can all agree, from either personal experience or witnessing our friends turn into melting witches, that no one enjoys being on a diet. They’re limiting and even if the lbs. are falling off you’re too bitter that you haven’t been allowed to look in the direction of a carb to even celebrate the weight-loss success. When we limit ourselves to what we can and can’t have we feel restricted, which causes us to slack off or just give up.
I found that restricting myself from certain foods was actually driving me to eat more out of frustration. I decided to make a nutrition plan that didn’t restrict me from anything. I found myself becoming more aware of the foods that made me feel good and felt proud every time I choose to eat them. But of course I needed the wiggle room to indulge in New York pizza and Thanksgiving stuffing with buttery mashed potatoes. It was a lenient approach that gave me freedom to make decisions that felt good in the present moment, and then I no longer wanted to rebel.
Based on my success around food, I realized I could change my negative mindset around budgeting if I approached it in a similar way. It was a simple shift that gave me enough motivation, and even excitement, to sign up for an online budgeting tool.
I ultimately discovered that my budget keeps me focused on my goals. I have found freedom in saying “heck yes” to buying new booties because I allotted myself that splurge each month. And I felt proud when I recognize I would be happier if I used the money I was spending on lunch twice a week (at a crappy deli) towards organic foods and dark chocolate treats at Whole Foods.
I want to encourage you to find fun in budgeting. Don’t let the pressure of creating and sticking to a perfect budget deters you from making one. I’ve been playing around and tweaking mine for a month, and I expect that as things start changing in my life and career the numbers will inevitably have to move with it. But it has served as a great assignment to get really clear about what I value spending my money on most, and that feels liberating.