Yesterday I did a truly epic amount of errands. I made a lot of stops and bought a lot of stuff, everything from nail polish to eggs to toilet paper. And yes, I spent a lot of money. I suppose I could add it all up, but I’d estimate that I spent about $175 yesterday over the course of the morning.
Yikes, right?!! Actually, wrong.
Yes, you read that right. Spending almost $200 in one morning didn’t cause me a single moment of stress, panic, or frustration (except for the couple screaming at each other in the line in front of me at Target – that was a little stressful). Why, you ask, did I not experience a spike in blood pressure at any point in my travels yesterday?
Budgeting, that’s why. Every single item I purchased yesterday was budgeted for – and it was glorious.
Shopping, even for necessities, used to seriously stress me out. I used to come home from a shopping trip, such as the one I took yesterday, agonize over my receipts, and wonder how the hell I was going to pay for it all. More often than not, I just wouldn’t actually pay for those items. I’d let the charges sit on my credit card, collecting interest from month to month. Every month, my indebtedness deepened.
But now? Now I have a flexible budget that allows me to buy all the things I need and most of the things I want, without going into debt. I can go shopping all morning without blinking an eye – or worse, worrying how much each of the things I bought will actually cost me, when all the credit card interest charges are factored in. That’s why I think budgeting is very freeing, as opposed to being restrictive. We all need things….and we all want things, too. Life is so much easier when we plan for those needs and wants and make sure we have a way to pay for them, instead of just spending willy nilly. I’m so happy I’ve found a method of budgeting that works for me and that I’m pretty good at sticking to every month. Now, having to buy tampons is just an inconvenience, not an agonizing, stressful, and ultimately absurdly expensive (the interest!) event.
What about you? Do you think budgets are a source of freedom or restriction? Explain!