When you’re getting started with budgeting the first thing that people think is being restricted. The term “budget” just has such a negative connotation to it. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A budget gives you permission to spend because you know you have the money.
The only thing a budget does is tell your money where to go and if it can go there. The reality is, you need to align your budget with the life you want to live. A lot of money gets sucked out of us for low joy purchases, which doesn’t make any sense.
For example, I would run out for lunch every week. It tasted good and it was my way to escape for a bit. The reality was that I was losing time at work, spending way more money, and eating food that wasn’t even good for me. Now, I eat lunch at work, am saving a lot of money, eating healthier, and no longer bring any work home (this is huge as a teacher).
For me, running out to buy lunch was a low joy purchase. This was one of the first things I cut from my spending. Of course, I go out to eat for special occasions, but I no longer get food out of convenience, I do to connect with friends and family.
Something I also cut from my budget was any kind of personal spending money, meaning self care was gone. For about 3 years, I would get 2 haircuts a year and that was it. I stopped getting my nails done, stopped getting hair cuts. I was determined to pay down my debt.
And I did. I paid off $118k in about 3 and a half years. I still have more to go, but I truly killed some serious debt by myself these last few years.
Now that I have gone this long, I’m burning out. It’s a long journey and I just want it to be over with already. So, I gave myself a bit of spending money for self care and I am so glad that I did.
Your budget should include you and some personal money.
Personal finance is never going to end. That’s why you need to think about long term goals when you budget, so budget in some personal money! Your budget should reflect you, the things you value, and the things that are important to you.
That means you need to remember yourself and put some money for yourself in your budget. Personal money doesn’t need to be some crazy number. My number changes every single month depending on my current situation. I typically roll my personal money over from month to month as well. This way if I feel like I want to treat myself to a massage, I will have the funds. Same thing goes for getting my hair done.
Yes, this is taking away from my debt pay off, but it’s really not too much money each month and if I decide I don’t want to use my personal money and send it to debt, I can.
This is the money that will keep you from feeling restricted.
Especially when you first start, you’re going to feel restricted. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s an adjustment period and with time, it will feel more natural. You’ll realize what you value and when you’d rather be using the money to reach your goals.
Personal money is for those hard days. When life completely falls apart and the unexpected happens. You can use your personal money in whatever way you want. For me, I know I need to spend some time and money on me, I enjoy getting manicures and my hair done.
This is what I use my personal money on. After 3 years of not having these items in my budget, it feels wonderful to put them back in. It was hard for me to add them back in at first, but I remind myself that I went totally intense for 3 years. That’s a long time and I got a lot accomplished!
Personal money will help you spend less.
Personal money allows you to spend. This prevents you from going on a spending spree when you’re burning out. Trust me, it will happen, if you’re restricting yourself too much. It just depends on when it happens. It’s important to take care of ourselves on our journeys.
Personal finance is a life long journey and it’s important to keep this in mind when you’re budgeting. You can do anything for a season, you can cut your personal money for a period of time, but it’s important to adjust and change your budget through the seasons of life.
I realized I was starting to fall off of my goals and feeling drained from my long journey to debt freedom, so I added in some personal money. I’m glad I lasted as long as I did, but I’m so happy to be spending some money on me now.
Evaluate where you are currently and plan your personal money accordingly.
The great thing about budgets is that they can change so easily and they should change to reflect where you are in your life. If you’re close to meeting a goal, you can cut some personal money, if you’re struggling with spending, you can add it back in. It all is based on priorities and what you want to do with your money. How do you budget for personal money?