There are very few people in this world who actually enjoy budgeting. If you're one of them, kudos to you (you sick, twisted madman). If you're married to one of them, we're very, very sorry (someone over here feels your pain). At least it will pay off come retirement, right?
All jokes aside, making and sticking to a budget isn't a pleasant thing. Perhaps that's because budgeting reminds us of all the things we can't or shouldn't have — a good lesson to learn even if it is miserable. But perhaps we would feel differently about budgeting if we changed the way we thought about it. Paradigm shift, anyone?
Rather than thinking of your budget as a chain tying you down, try thinking of it as wings that will help you fly! Alright, so that was cheesy. But, seriously. Here are all the things your budget will help you accomplish.
Budget = financial goals. And you can only reach goals that exist
Without a budget, you'll go throughout the year (or years) without any meaningful financial purpose other than surviving. A budget forces you to think about where your money is going and what you want to accomplish with it. It allows you to put plans together that otherwise would never materialize. Sticking with your budget enables you to achieve your goals, earning a great deal of satisfaction in doing so.
Say "hello" to living in the green
Without a budget, how do you ever really know where you stand financially? Are you net positive or net negative? Are you building wealth or just staying afloat? Having a budget (and revisiting it regularly) keeps you in control of your finances rather than letting them control you.
Budgets breed wisdom
Generally speaking, impulse buys aren't a good idea. Sure, there may be a sale every now and then that really is too good to pass up, but that's usually the exception. Having a budget and holding yourself accountable to your budget helps you second guess your purchases, resulting in better purchasing choices.
Want to be working when you're 77? Didn't think so
Without a budget, you could quite easily find yourself approaching retirement age with only a fraction of what you'll need to retire. Choosing to live on a budget now, forgoing a few wants here and there, will ensure that you can comfortably live without financial worry and stress later. It's called delayed gratification.
Contrary to popular belief, budgets do mean fun right now
Living on a budget isn't all about sacrificing now for a magical retirement in the future. Your budget will help you save for the things you and your spouse value now. Maybe you've been dreaming of a second (or seventeenth) honeymoon. Budgeting turns dreams into realities. A new car, an updated wardrobe, a down payment on your first home — whatever you want, creating and living on a budget gives you the financial freedom to spend money on your top priorities.
Financial peace of mind. Honestly, is there anything better?
Ultimately, living on a budget will help you enjoy financial peace of mind — something you can't put a price tag on. A budget might not be glamorous or flashy, and it might require you to make some extra sacrifices (frankly, it won't be fun), but it will be worth it. A little accountability is a small price to pay for financial stability and peace of mind.
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.