I’ve been asked, “Where do I begin with budgeting?”
I thought long and hard about this and realized that successful budgeting doesn’t begin with numbers at all. It actually doesn’t begin externally on paper or on a spreadsheet. It begins internally.
I truly believe that the following steps lead to successful budgeting: (1) establish a healthy money mindset, (2) reimagine what your finances could look like aka dreaming, (3) connect with your values and (4) check in with your “why.” Then rinse and repeat and you’ll have a great start!
Healthy Money Mindset
I realize mindset is an overused word, but stick with me here. It’s pretty powerful. Begin to surround yourself with evidence of abundance and realize that money is not evil. Yes, the Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil, but having money and desiring an abundance of money is not evil.
The more money in the hands of good people, the more good can be done. Money simply magnifies what’s already within. So, wouldn’t we want more money in good hands?
The Bible is a perfect place to begin. Open your Bible and you’ll see many scriptures (Matthew 14, Ephesians 3) where Jesus supplied His people with more than enough. Jesus can do exceedingly above all than we could ever hope or dream. For me, faith is a major one component of money mindset.
Also, it’s important to surround yourself with evidence that you desires are reachable no matter where you begin. For example, Google stories of billionaires who started from humble beginnings and amassed empires (ie. Oprah Winfrey). Begin to seek out evidence that what you truly desire is possible. If you have evidence that it’s been done before, it will be easier to buy into your hopes and dreams. Finding evidence is major in mindset work.
You have to believe that financial abundance is for you!
Reimagine and Dream
Setting aside time to dream and get excited about where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years is also powerful. It’s powerful because we can get caught up in our day-to-day activities and rarely take the time to sit back and imagine what life could look like if we come up with a budget and stick to it.
Trust me, I know we don’t have hours to sit around and dream about our future lives and to that I say, this exercise doesn’t need to take long. Take 5 minutes during your shower or wake up 15 minutes early and dream. I bet you haven’t done this in quite some time. My earliest memory of this practice was in kindergarten when I first dreamed of being an attorney.
I wanted a career that was lucrative and a career that utilized critical thinking skills. Lucrative because I wanted my family to be able to enjoy fancy things (my how things have changed) and not need to worry about finances. Critical thinking because I wanted to constantly be challenged and be able to rise to the occasion. Ok, i know my 5-year old self wouldn’t use that exact language, but you get the point.
I can honestly say that my why of wanting to be financially abundant carried through to the age of 25 when I became an attorney, but it all began with a dream.
So, carve out quiet time and get real with yourself and your dreams. Where do you want to be in the future?
As you do your mindset work and begin dreaming about the future of your finances, begin to consider your values as well. I feel it’s important to approach money in a manner reflective of your values.
The dictionary definition of values is to consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial. Once you establish what is important to you or beneficial to your financial planning, decision-making becomes soooo much easier.
For example, my top 5 values are faith, family, integrity, hard work and love. What are yours?
If you’re having a hard time determining your values, I suggest Googling “personal values” and jotting down a list of 5-10 values that resonate with you.
Once you’ve established your values, take time to consider your “why.”
I remember hearing something that resonated so deep. Someone once said, “If your “why” does not make you cry, your why is not big enough.”
And I can totally understand that. As a child, planning for a solid financial foundation for my future family was a non-negotiable. If it didn’t happen, I surely would have needed a lot of Jesus time, but I would have also needed a lot of tissue because I would have cried!
Tapping into your WHY is crucial because you will not be excited about every day/step of your finance journey, but your why will remind you to stay the course.
So, I’ll ask you. What is your “why”? Why is it important for you to gain control of your finances, stay on top of your budget and eventually leave a legacy for your family?
Tying it all together (mindset, reimagine, values and why)
When you give yourself permission to take time to dream and reimagine your financial future and really believe it is possible, it is game on! You will have set a solid foundation to figuring out your values and your why.
When you determine your values and establish your “why” behind budgeting, there is a connection to a greater purpose behind your money.
When this connection is established and frequently revisited, spending, saving and investing habits shift to align with your why. There is meaning behind your actions!
When we are disconnected from our why and we live for the moment, spending can get out of control, savings can get neglected and investing can be a foreign concept.
I hope you consider taking some of the action laid out above in the post. Your future self (and bank account) will thank you!