Budgets suck. Most budgets are really just a page of lies. They fail because they are not built on any sort of financial balance but instead seem to be driven more by spending guilt.
Somehow the impression is that people who go without “unnecessary” expenses are somehow purer or better at managing their money. Hogwash.
The ultimate way to deal with your money is not to go without. It is to go within. If your spending can fit inside of your income, that’s the best outcome if you are meeting your bills, saving some cash, and tucking away money for retirement, you win.
USA Today recently published a story on how the average person spends almost $18,000 a year on nonessentials.
The average adult in the USA spends $1,497 a month on nonessential items. All told, that's roughly $18,000 a year on things we can all do without. https://t.co/KQ8wxFtduQ pic.twitter.com/bpgVj94SaM
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 7, 2019
I get how somethings these days may actually be a luxury but in that list of things labeled irresponsible purchases is monthly expenses for rideshares, personal grooming, cable, television, and coffee.
I’m all about saving money. Recently I purchased a new camera and by spending about an hour hunting for the best way to make the purchase I got 3x points on my credit card, an extra year of warranty for free, and $450 in free items for the camera. And the camera was $1,299 before all those cost savings.
You Can Live the Life You Want
You don’t have to feel guilty about personal grooming, going to a movie, or coffee with friends. Most all of those fun things can be paid for just by being a smart shopper and watching how you spend your money. Any reduction in expenses for things you already buy can be saved and used for fun.
I’m all about having fun.
You Life Should Be About Balance, Not Budgets
The target you should aim for is not how much you can cut out or cut back but how you can live a life that includes some of the fun things you want to do. Not many people get to do all the stuff they want to do on a whim. That’s not reality.
And there is more than one way to be in debt. Financial debt isn’t much fun but neither is being in time debt. The cost of something like a rideshare service can be a smart expense when getting to your location otherwise would take three times as long. A poorly thought cost reduction is just as dumb as overpaying for something.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Having Fun
It’s perfectly fine for you to have fun in life. Living within an artificial budget based on how you would like to spend your money does not make you a better person.
What does make you a better person is kindness, gratitude, friendship, love, and just living within your income. You will notice the core attributes of a happy life are free.
For more on living an authentic financial life, you may get a lot out of reading The Path to Happiness and Wealth.
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