I think it’s easy to fall for this idea that in order to have a perfect budget you have to do all the things.
You have to say no to everything. Cut out all entertainment and sit in a dark house on weekends. That’s just not true. (And leads to burnout.) .
A budget isn’t about math. It’s about behavior.
We all have to make decisions in our lives that are authentic to our values, our time and the other people living in our homes.
Maybe you cut your satellite but you pick up a Hulu subscription instead. Maybe you still go on preplanned coffee dates with your girlfriends (because sanity) but you carry your lunch for a week to make up for the cost.
So maybe you buy a precooked chicken because spending $7.99 on a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket keeps you out of the drive through where you’ll spend way more. Yes, you could buy one in the meat department and cook if yourself for a fraction of the price. But, if buying that precooked chicken will prevent you from hitting up the drive thru and spending way more do it.
I like to buy whole foods and prep them myself. This saves me a lot of money. But if buying precut fruits and bagged salads means you will actually eat them and they won’t go bad in your fridge and get tossed in the trash, buy the bagged salad!
Your money-saving efforts and my money-saving efforts might look different, because we are different. Our lives are different. I work full-time, but I get to work from home. My life has way more flexibility than the mama who is working an 8-5. Give yourself permission to do what is best for you and your budget with the time you are given. It’s not a race. It’s not a competition.
It’s little choices and swaps you make that add up to a mindset shift. Yes, you will have to give stuff up. You will find yourself saying no a lot. But you’ll also find as you carry on the motivation of getting closer to that goal of being debt free is worth the no’s.
Starting out can feel overwhelming. You’re equal parts excited to just dive in and crush debt. But it can also feel paralyzing. Where do you begin? And how do you keep momentum? You’ve got budgets to make and sinking funds to fill and an emergency fund and... stop!
One step at a time. Focus on just what is immediately in front of you. Don’t feel the need to take multiple steps. Don’t feel discouraged if it takes you longer than someone else. Slow and steady.
It's not about the budget and all the things you cut out. It's about behavior and changing the things that got you in debt to begin with.