I don’t get on my soapbox very often, but when I do, it’s about something that I feel so passionately about, and today it’s this: whether you have $10 or $10 million, You. Need. A. Budget.
I said what I said.
If you’re a human being, you need a budget. No questions asked. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having a budget isn’t restrictive. It’s freedom. It’s security. It’s peace of mind.
I’ve tried several different budgeting tools in the past, such as EveryDollar and Mint, but never stuck with them. They were either too clunky, or weren’t flexible enough. I always came back to pen and paper. But, when I became a single mom, I knew I needed to tighten things up and get a better handle on my money. Typically, I would say I’m pretty good with my money, but figured there was some way to improve. At a time when very few things felt in my control, I knew money should be one of them!
After posting on social media, a lot of people were saying I should check out You Need A Budget, and oh. my. gosh. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Like I said, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on my money, but you don’t know what you don’t know. YNAB took my finances to the next level. I realized that this whole time I had been missing two crucial pieces: I wasn’t really tracking my expenses outside of my bills, and I was budgeting money I didn’t actually have.
My mind was kind of blown at that last piece. I was budgeting money I didn’t actually have. We all do it! Most people budget with future paychecks and also don’t track their expenses. I’ve been using the system since August, and I’ve managed to get a month ahead in my expenses now, I have a really solid understanding of where my money is going, and I am making sure that I am putting my money where my ACTUAL priorities are.
Friends, I could go on and on and totally nerd out over all the amazing things about this program (like, the ability to set goals, the incredible Facebook community, the reports, etc. etc.) but I’ll spare you all the details and tell you that you should go take a look for yourself. Their website and resources will explain things far better than I ever could.
Just a few weeks ago I borrowed the book You Need A Budget from the library and it completely transformed my mindset about money. It gave me a different idea of what financial freedom looks like for me, how to raise children knowing how to budget their money, and did a deep dive into the four rules of YNAB.
No one can really tell you what to do with your money. Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone has different priorities. That’s the beauty of it. If being able to go through a drive through for coffee every day is important to you, then go for it! Just put a line item in your budget for it. If being able to buy a new shirt on sale when you see one is important to you, then create a category for it. If you want to be able to buy concert tickets on a whim, create a category for it. Can you see what I’m trying to say?
A budget will set you FREE. If you’re too scared to look at your accounts because you don’t know what the balances will be, or where your money has gone, one of the best things you can do for yourself is face your fear and just look. Knowledge is powerful. Don’t be ashamed of where you’re at. Instead, decide to take control of your finances instead of letting your money rule you. I’m just going to say it – You Need A Budget has changed my life. I’ll never go back to my old method of budgeting, and I want the whole world to know about this amazing tool. Even if you want to just do it on pen and paper, read the book. The four rules, and the principles behind it are what truly matter!!
This kind of stuff really gets me excited, and I LOVE talking about it!! I’m looking forward to making strides on things that matter to me this year financially, and to get myself in a position where I feel comfortable and confident to start investing!
Do you use a budget? Tell me more!
Linda is a Portland-based photographer specializing in weddings and creating family legacies from Portland to Boston and across New England. You can see more of her work online at lindabarryphotography.com, on Instagram, or on Facebook. If you want to reach out directly: email@example.com.