Why Budget?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Before I elaborate on our "Dream Jar" and our method which I mention HERE, I want to answer the question "why budget?"  There are a million answers to this question ranging from scholarly advise to "because you have to," but I'm simply going to answer for ourselves - why we budget.

I budget so that I'm honest and accurate with our finances.

In studying art, a teacher once told me to "draw what you see, not what you think you see."  And it is so true.  For instance, eyes on a person's face are half-way down the head.  But to see people draw a face from memory, the eyes that they draw are generally up in the forehead region because we think that is what we see when we look at a person.

Without a budget I would say "I think I have good spending habits," because after all we weren't racking up credit card bills.  But without a budget, or truly seeing what we spend, I wouldn't even know what our spending habits are.  I would be drawing eyes on the forehead!

We have to make decisions based on our income.

I knew that as an adult making big decisions were inevitable, but it's amazing to me how much those big decisions ride on our personal finances.  We want to think that in a happy and ideal world money doesn't matter or is not something we have to think about regularly.  Or maybe a person has a bad taste in their mouth from money attitudes that they lived with as a child.  But regardless, money either has been or could easily have been at the center of every big decision we have made as a couple.

Income is finite, but the list of what I want money to do for our lives seems infinite at times.

Spoiler alert!  Those goals I'm going to eventually delve into are not earth-shattering but crazy basic.  Our big goals are flexibility, funding retirement, paying off the house, paying for college, giving like nobody's business, and living life to the fullest.  Oh and I'd like to throw vacations and a house remodel in the mix somewhere.  

That is still quite a bit to accomplish and the truth is that income is finite.  And retirement and vacations are not just going to magically happen for us.  We have to start now and plan accordingly.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

I am the first to admit that it can seem overwhelming at times.  I have this list of things to accomplish financially and we are still at the top of the list.  But that's okay!  Because the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  That one bite is the meager percentage we can save upfront for retirement each month.  Or the meager $20 or $40 that I place in our dream jar each week.  Those are the bites that we eventually have this elephant eaten. 
For more great stories on why people budget and their financial "aha" moment, visit The Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival at The Heavy Purse HERE.

May we spend well and live well,



  1. Love this, Stacy! "But without a budget, or truly seeing what we spend, I wouldn't even know what our spending habits are." So true - many people who don't budget argue that they don't need to because they don't have debt. I say that's fantastic but are you sure you're truly spending your money on what matters most. In most instances, they are not. They spend a lot of money on inconsequential items that don't cost much in the moment but add over time and take money out of their dream jar! :) Thank you for mentioning The Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival. I appreciate your support!

    1. Thank you, Shannon! I love what you do over at The Heavy Purse. I agree that it's fantastic when people can live within their means and not go into debt (definitely a key step), but likely there is room to live on less and save more. And we have found that doing so is freeing rather than restricting!


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