Yes, some people are wired certain ways.
Let me tell you of my first money related memory. I was 5 or 6ish and I remember standing in a dollar store contemplating a purchase. I had plenty of money. The product seemed sound (ironically, it was a wallet– with neon colors and a magnetic enclosure.) I had advice from people I trusted; my little sister thought it was cool* and my mom said I should get it because it was useful and I hardly get anything for myself so I deserved it.
I put it back.
That’s how I am wired so having and using a budget is perfectly normal for me. It’s a very natural choice for someone naturally thrifty to have a system specifically designed to help you save and spend wisely. For me it’s fun and fulfilling. Many budgeters fall into this category. We know how to budget and do it efficiently. It’s great.
But what if I were to try to budget, say, candy instead of money? Picture that same five or six-year-old girl with a fresh Easter basket full of candy goodness. Jelly beans. Robins’ eggs. Peeps. Ahhh, Peeps. I loved that candy just like I loved that money. I loved what it meant for me. I knew it would bring me joy.
And it was entirely gone in two days.
I could never make my candy last. I knew I should. I knew I always ended up with regret and shame. I would go crawling to my sister (who always saved her holiday candy so that it lasted to the next candy-filled holiday) and ask for some of hers. She would often share and she would at times (I am NOT making this up) lend me some candy until the next holiday where I would have to pay her back with interest. Yes, candy interest. For candy, I am wired entirely opposite. I took that loan so I could have candy now at the expense of my later self. Hey, I “needed” it.
A budget is also perfect for that type of money manager. When you can’t naturally determine and follow through on the best course of action for your well-earned money you NEED someone to step in and show you how. Will it be fun and fulfilling like for type of budgeter #1? Probably not at first. At first you just need to work one step, one dollar, at a time. You need to learn that you CAN do it and it won’t kill you to not eat it all… I mean USE it all right now. It’s hard. It’s work. But the cool thing is that these types of people actually get so much more from budgeting. The more you work, the more you overcome, the more you win. Do you think that Rocky would be such a great movie if Rocky was already expected to win?
And that’s why I remember that wallet.
Nobody expected the frugalness to win over the wallet. The fact that I put that wallet back means more to me and is more fulfilling because it was something I struggled with. I don’t have fond memories of passing up the straw glasses or yo-yo because those never really called my name. I never had to overcome those temptations.
If you have more temptations to overcome then we cheer you on. We want to see you win. That’s why a budget is so helpful. Because you have to put in the work. YOU are in control of every little thing because every little thing we do, when we do it with purpose, is a victory. Let a budget give you victory no matter how much you have to overcome. It’s worth it.
*Sure it may have been because at that age everything your big sister likes is cool but it was the 80’s. Neon WAS cool. It was an extraordinary wallet for only a buck. (In case it’s not clear, I am still glad I did not buy it. The memory is much better than the wallet would have been.)
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/4515395229/”>Great Beyond</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>