So I had this idea for a new post series dedicated to things I'm thankful for. As I look back on 2013, I realize that I've spent a lot of time this year being envious of other people. It's really sad to say that out loud (or write it/whathaveyou), but there it is.
I don't do drugs or smoke or have a diet-coke addiction, but I have a problem with envy. And peanut butter, but that's a post for another day.
Ergo, I have decided to focus on things I LIKE about my various spots of envy. First up: budgeting.
Let's be honest: budgeting is horrible! It's no fun at all, and I am envious of people who have enough money to not care about budgeting. If it were up to me, I'd buy the most expensive brand of ice cream and stop at Panera every day for a bread bowl. And I wouldn't care that the nearest Panera is a half hour from me, because gas budget what? And I wouldn't care that eating expensive ice cream and bread bowls is going to make me fat because as a budgetless person I will PAY Jillian Michaels to come to my house and yell at me in her scary man voice.
But once I talked myself off the ledge, I realized there are a few good things about budgets:
1. Having a budget helps you buy only things you need so you don't fill your house with crap.
You all know my feelings about Target. But it's also a good thing, because when I go into Target I only buy the things I need. (Most of the time. I am still a human.) Do I stop at the dollar spot? Of course. But just as I'm walking toward the register with my arms full of one-dollar placemats, I realize that I already have placemats! Oh, and also, I live with one other person and never host dinner parties.
2. When you have a budget, you value the things you buy.
I saved up for almost an entire year to buy my fancy camera. And I saved for three months for my latest pair of running shoes. And when I was finally able to buy my camera and my shoes, I was so much more grateful for them than I would have been had I just been able to buy them outright in the first place.
Not to say that rich people don't value their things, but when you have to save up for something, it makes it all the more sweeter when you finally get it.
3. A budget allows you to do fun things without worrying about how much you're spending.
Jordan and I have a "travel" fund, which means we put money aside in an envelope that's specifically designated for travel expenses. Most recently we drove to Springfield, Illinois, this summer for a friend's wedding. Springfield happens to be the home of a man called Abraham Lincoln. Maybe you've heard of him. So of course we visited the museum, saw his tomb, and all that. We also had gas, a hotel, and food to pay for.
This could have freaked us out, but thanks to our trusty travel envelope, we didn't worry about a thing! In fact, we were much more open to eating out at a fancy restaurant than we would have been if we hadn't already budgeted for those expenses. Budgeting isn't fun, but it allows you to have fun without the stress.
4. Budgeting keeps buyer's remorse at bay.
I used to get buyer's remorse a lot. Like, I'd buy something on a whim "because it was on sale," and then all of the sudden it was a year later, and that stupid cheap shirt was hanging in my closet with the tag still on it. Then I'd be all "WHY????"
Since I started budgeting, that doesn't happen! At least as often. Because when you have a budgeted amount of what Jordan and I call "blow money" every month, you really think hard about what you're buying (see #1).
Honestly, I think I'm a closet shopaholic. Remember my confession a few months ago? Well that happened again! Good grief. I've already spent November and December's blow money! Jordan just shakes his head.
So obviously I have issues, but the fact remains that I really do only buy things I really want. I've come *this close* to buying a lot of crap lately, but then I stop and think Do I really want to use my last $10 on this? Answer = no. This is why I haven't done blog sponsorships in like a year. I have a small amount of money to spend, and I'd rather use it signing up for races! For serious. Plus, who needs to pay for a blog sponsorship when my posts are going viral thanks to the Canadians? Free advertising!
5. Budgeting keeps you out of debt.
This last one is obvious but needs to be said. After all, why DO people budget?
It's so you don't end up on an episode of Castle where Castle and Beckett are trying to figure out who broke your kneecaps and then stuffed you in a garbage can.
It's so you can be in control of your own life while acting like an educated human being and not a layaway-obsessed robot.
It's so you can lose your job and not freak out about continuing to pay your credit card bill because, oh yeah! you don't have one!
Believe me, if it's only for that last reason, I'm thankful to be on a budget. You can read more about our budget binder and how it works here.
Now who wants to buy me a bread bowl?