What Does Budgeting Really Mean?


budgeting
present participle of budg·et (Verb)

Verb:
  1. Allow or provide for in a budget: “the university is budgeting for a deficit”; “a budgeted figure of $31,000″.
  2. Provide (a sum of money) for a particular purpose from a budget.

Do you believe in diets? I’ve been told diets don’t work because you need a lifestyle change to lose properly and maintain your weight loss. It makes sense — most things aren’t effective long-term unless your lifestyle choices reflect the change you’re wanting to make. Same holds true for budgeting. The dictionary definition of budgeting doesn’t do the verb justice. Succeeding at budgeting has more to do with your lifestyle choices than allowing or providing for a dollar figure.

Our income(s) has fluctuated greatly over our 12+ years of marriage. So have our methods of budgeting. I can honestly say, regardless of method used, having more money doesn’t make it easier. The longer I try budgeting, the more I realize it has more to do with clearly defining my needs vs. wants, prioritizing accordingly, and being disciplined enough to follow through.

Budgeting comes down to lifestyle choices. Believe me, if done well, budgeting will affect your lifestyle. It might even define it. Once you understand what your greatest priorities are, the rest can feel like clutter.

SIDE NOTE: I remember reading a wonderful post awhile back from Amy at The Finer Things in Life regarding budgeting with discipline. It was so honestly refreshing, I would suggest you take a peek yourself. You may find it here.

Let me try to describe how budgeting works for me. 

My husband and I allot a certain amount each month for entertainment. Based on our priorities, this category has a relatively small budget. When we were determining how to spend this figure, we had to decide how important certain things were to us: Cable/movies, internet access, date nights, kids/family activities, smartphones, travel, play toys, vacations, etc.  Once we acknowledged which of these were most important to us, it became easy to cancel cable channels and survive sans smartphone for now. Our entertainment budget covers our needs with ease and portrays the lifestyle we want to lead. I couldn’t be more satisfied, even if I had that iPhone or The Food Network. Could I crunch the numbers so I could have them? Sure, but I decided they weren’t a priority to me. To say they don’t fit into my budget would be inaccurate, because they could. I have consciously made the choice not to have them.

I love chai teas. I love knowing I could pick one up no matter which direction from home I go. But I only pick one up a couple times a year. That $4 bill would add up in a hurry and I know I’d rather spend that money on better meals for my family or visiting extended family. Knowing that helps me drive by Starbucks with ease. I don’t blame my budget, I simply realize I have other things I need more.

My husband and I talk about our budget often. We like to know where we’re both at and determine if our needs have changed. We re-organize our priorities and brainstorm ways to save more, spend less, feel more fulfilled.

You don’t have to be a numbers person to do a budget well. You just have to know what’s most important to you and live accordingly. Once you decide where your money is best spent, stick to it. Own it. Make no excuses for how you’ve prioritized your needs. Be proud of how you spend your hard-earned income.

I wish the dictionary would show what budgeting really looks like. To me, it’s a reality check on your priorities and a discipline exercise on your expenditures.

How about you — What does budgeting mean to you? What do you struggle with most when it comes to budgeting? I’d love to hear and maybe delve into that further on another post. I might not have the answer, but we can strive to become better together.

Thanks for spending your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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8 thoughts on “What Does Budgeting Really Mean?

  1. Pingback: Weekend Wanderings

  2. I came here from The Finer Things In Life and love this post! My style of budgeting it much more like Amy’s with my bf and I setting aside a set amount each week for saving for a variety of things, and then give ourselves some money we get to blow through (which, honestly, is very little). We are accountable to each other, spend less than we make and never, ever, EVER put anything on credit we can’t afford. By afford I don’t mean that my next paycheck will cover it, but that the money is in the bank.

    I found this post so interesting today because at work we were given a flyer to get a loan for up to $5,000 for “stocking stuffers”. I thought it was such a comment on the state of consumerism when there is a market for people who will BORROW up to $5,000 for Christmas! Between 9 people our budget is less than a tenth of that! I think sometimes we need to get back to the root of the spirit of giving and the essentials of living. Gift giving is not about cost or money, but the love behind it. You certainly don’t need that Gucci purse, you simply need something to hold your items.

    Sorry for the rant :P I got carried away. But love the post!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Jessica!
      Sounds like you and your bf use your credit wisely. I wish everyone could say that as then there wouldn’t be a need to hand out loan flyers for Christmas gifts. . .my goodness.
      “Gift giving is not about cost or money, but the love behind it.” You are absolutely right there. It saddens me to see what the spirit of giving has morphed into. Let’s stick to our guns and be generous with our love instead. That lasts longer :)
      Thanks again for dropping by, Jessica!

  3. We are budget fools and wouldn’t have it any othe way. It releases so much stress that could be in our lives. We are on the same page and have very open discussions about our finances. Thanks for writing this!

    • Yes! What a stress reliever! So glad you and you are both on the same page. Makes things so much easier.
      Thanks for taking the time to read let along comment, Leanne. What a blessing you are. thank you!

  4. Pingback: Blogging Resolve « simplystriving

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