budget

To Budget or Not to Budget that is the Question

We’ve all been enticed by that “awesome new what-cha-ma-call-it” before. So what is it that gets us to pull out our wallets and hand over our hard earned money instead of putting it away into savings? A lot of it has to do with the emotional appeal of whatever it is we’re considering purchasing. In the heat of the moment however, budgeting doesn’t always seem like the best route. After all it would mean passing up the must-have object.

In order to make a clear decision on whether or not to live on a tighter budget and save we have to remove ourselves from the temptation to buy. Go home and think it over before you make a purchase. Let is simmer for a day and see if it still is that important to you. Reaching bigger goals in life, like owning a home, saving for retirement, or paying off debts, take planning and diligence. Here are a few things for you to consider when you are deciding whether or not to change the way you budget:

  • Think about The Future- Achieving major goals in life usually revolves around your income and savings. For example, most of us have a goal to pay off our mortgage and have a retirement fund set up. We will never be able to do this however if we don’t start planning now. Taking a good hard look at where you are now and where you want to be is the first step in deciding whether or not to change your spending habits. Making a budget and sticking to it isn’t easy, but if the goal is important enough to you, then it will be worth the hard work.
  • Self Mastery- If saving money is something that you struggle with, budgeting might be more of a inward reward; a sort of spiritual battle to prove to yourself that you can do it. Plato once said that “the first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is a shame.” Everyone has something that they struggle with in life. If you struggle inwardly with something, as I’m sure most of us do, then overcoming that challenging can feel liberating. Self-discipline can bring with it a sense of confidence in oneself.
  • What about the Unexpected?– When you take into consideration the possibility that something unexpected will affect your lifestyle, budgeting may move up on your list of priorities. What if you lose your job, your car breaks down, or you’re going to have a baby that you didn’t expect? In times like these it’s important to have money set aside. Whether you call it a rainy day fund or not, the important thing is that the funds are there when you need them most. There is peace of mind in knowing that if something went wrong you would be able to sustain yourself.

Budgeting may not sound like that much fun, especially when you could have the latest and greatest. But with some careful consideration you’ll find that it is necessary to some degree, and can relieve a lot of stress in the long run. If you’re still not convinced that a plan for savings is a smart idea, then you should attend a budget counseling course to get a more in-depth look at what it can do for you.

Micah Castro is a freelance writer for Alliance Credit Counseling. Alliance is a non-profit government approved agency that offers budget counseling to help you reach your financial goals.

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