Today I want to talk about having a budgeting mindset. I will share what you gain, ways to celebrate your wins, great books for positive attitudes towards money and a few budgeting bloggers I like.
I struggle to stay upbeat while I stick to our budget and “sacrifice”. I know that sacrifice is relative, but I do feel like I am sacrificing sometimes, even when I may just be selfish.
When I have a budgeting mindset it feels like I am saying to myself “There is abundance available to you, but in order to get it, you have to display some discipline and patience for awhile to get it.”
If abundance already exists, why can’t I have it now?
Here are the answers I came up with as I thought about the question above. These are the things we gain when we stick to a budget.
1. Understanding the work and desire that creates wealth is invaluable. What is my “sad story” that is keeping me from believing in and acting towards my financial goals? Listen to your inner dialogue about money. Practice an inner dialogue that sounds like this:
I don’t have it now, but I will soon. There is enough for me and everyone else. I am excited to offer value to others to earn the wealth I desire. What I want already exists, I just need to work towards it. I love money; it is a tool to help me, my family and others for good.
Don’t let your experiences and even what you thought was right or wrong about money block wealth in all its forms. Consider if those beliefs you have formed in your life are serving your financial situation. It does not pay to have a scarcity mindset when you are sticking to a budget. The process of getting rid of excuses can change mindset positively, forever. To believe completely in my financial success is well worth a delay in getting exactly what I want now.
2. The action required on my part will always create character. The true test of my desires is when I don’t get what I want. Will I keep going even when I can’t see huge gains quickly?
Hard work will always be a part of the equation. Sure, it may seem that it comes easier to others sometimes, but does it really help you to waste time wondering why it hasn’t been easy for you. Just get to work.
3. Creativity is spawned. I either create with what I have or come up with an idea to get the resources I need. Try seeing your perceived limitations as doorways to another solution. Remember that your discipline now means there is a bigger payoff in the future. It may seem like your destination is too far off, but it only gets closer if you stick to your plan. Plus, most of the time, I find that I have much more than I thought and I just need to stop comparing and really see the people, things and experiences that are mine right now.
When Cody went back to college at 26 years old, we knew that while our friends were buying homes and building their wealth, we would be barely making it financially as we both went back to school, started our family and essentially worked part-time. It was not an easy 3.5 years, BUT the payoff was huge. Our perceived set-back was actually a huge leap forward for us. We learned how to have fun without spending money, and we continued to create and accomplish our goals despite having some limitations. Cody built a foundry, I wrote my creative thesis, taught writing to college students and we both served in leadership callings at church during this time of “less”. Consider how to pass your time, how to get creative and what kind of rewards await you.
We have wonderful memories of that time in our life because life was far more simple and we had all that we really needed. You, too, might find that this time of staying in budget is actually a special time of closeness and simplicity too. Enjoy each season.
4. True motivations are clarified. Delayed gratification will check if I really want my goal. If you are too willing to give up on a goal because it gets hard you need to evaluate your work ethic or you need to question the goal.
What is it that you really want and why? Remember that ideas sell much better than products so start with the idea first (I will be financially independent or I will enjoy financial freedom) and believe in it so hard that nothing will get in your way of achieving it.
5. Positivity and Gratitude. I teeter back and forth between feeling miserable that I don’t have everything I want right now to feeling so grateful and content. It is actually a difficult roller coaster to ride, but I know that I am far more productive when I am sitting on the gratitude/positivity end. When we learn to see our life as a beautiful journey that will get us to where we want to go and embrace the blessings we have already been given, we will see our budget not as a drag, but rather as a bridge–a bridge to self-discipline, gratitude and abundance.
I believe that God is paying attention to how we manage the blessings he sends us. Where much is given, much is expected. I am always striving to show God that I am grateful for what he has sent me and eager to show him that I can be trusted to do good.
As you consider these gifts you get when you have a budget mindset, I also want you to know that I understand how frustrating it can be to see others around you or in social media that seem to get everything that they want right when they want it.
Always remember that their journey was blessed because they had an idea and they wouldn’t quit until it was realized. Their journey also had a beginning, and it is far more important that you get started on your own journey than it is that you feel cheated that you are not getting something someone else has.
Another way to stay positive with a budget mindset is to celebrate your financial wins.
Here are some ideas to celebrate a budgeting success:
- Rent a movie from the library and have a movie night.
- Go for a family drive to a favorite spot or somewhere you haven’t been before (close, so you don’t use too much gas.)
- Invite friends over for games and dessert.
- Let the whole family know what you have accomplished and then have a dance party.
- Print or create visuals that will help you see your progress. Let the kids color in a debt thermometer or graph to show progress has been made. It will be fun for everyone to see the success. Here is an example of a debt thermometer visual you could print.
- Skype or Facetime family and share the good news and catch up with everyone.
- Depending on your budget, consider a family dinner, either a special home-made meal or a meal at a favorite restaurant.
- No matter what, celebrate your victories, so that you can keep the focus on your money goals.
As I talked with a friend yesterday, I realized that I am a big dreamer, and I am not ashamed of that, but I also hope that people will also see me as an action taker, a gritty worker and a grateful human who keeps my priorities straight. I certainly could be disappointed right now with my life if I was measuring my successes or failures based on others or based on priorities that do not align with my values.
Thankfully I am seeing financial wins right now. In a little under 4 years we have paid 18K of debt. We are not done yet, but we see light at the end of the tunnel and it is fueling our current focus. If all goes according to plan we only have a year and a half left to be debt free. After three moves, two more children, buying our first home and me starting a business, I am very excited about our progress!
Write out your definition of success and make sure you run your own race!
Here are some books about money and wealth that can give you a new perspective:Think and Grow Rich Creating Money: Keys to Abundance The Science of Getting Rich: Your Master Key to Success
Here are some budgeting bloggers that I follow: