I’ve decided to put myself on a budget. The reason is not due to financial distress, but a desire to be more financially successful. I have realized that I make a good salary, but save very little. I’m not a big spender, and could care less about designer clothes or expensive trips, but all of my small purchases have added up big, and have eaten away at my potential savings.
I just left Walmart where I returned a T-shirt for my son. The tee was only about $4, but it was too small and just not needed. Normally, I would’ve just held onto the shirt since it only cost a few bucks, but now that I’m on a budget (and delving into a minimalistic lifestyle), I can’t allow myself to keep unnecessary purchases. So I stood in the customer service line for 10 minutes to retrieve those few dollars. I am now realizing that every dollar counts toward my financial goal, and every item that doesn’t get brought into my home is helping to reduce the sheer amount of stuff in my environment. (I might also be returning an item to the Dollar Tree just to prevent it from adding to the abundance of stuff in my home.)
Being on a budget has forced me to really make decisions about what I need versus what I want. Sometimes those lines are blurry. During that same trip to Walmart, I picked up a pairing knife, it was only $1, but I put it back so I could make sure I don’t already have one at home. And secondly, I put the item back because I want to make sure I’m successful in my first month of living on a zero-based budget. I want to keep my promise to myself. And that’s the key to making your budget strategy work– reminding yourself that this is your promise to self. Heck, if you can’t keep your word to yourself, who can you keep your word too?!
This probably sounds like depravity, but I actually am starting to feel liberated. Stuff is not as tempting anymore, and I spend consciously. This is not to say that I will not buy stuff for myself or others. Of course, I will. But I will be more aware of what I’m buying and whether or not I need it.
So if you’re struggling with budgeting, here are some keys to making it work:
- Make a promise to yourself to spend more consciously.
- Remember that all those small purchases add up.
- Delve into minimalism. I jumped into minimalism at the same time by accident, not realizing that one would impact the other. But it’s been a great way to stick to a budget.