I tend to write my posts in generalities. It’s a purposeful choice based on the fact that financial situations vary greatly from person to person. There are countless different factors that go into one’s financial health, from different incomes to different bills to different lifestyles to different financial personalities and more. That’s a huge part of why I base much of my counseling philosophy on the importance of values and goals– because each person is going to value different things and be seeking out different goals (and a huge part of why financial counseling, as a whole, can be valuable– because it takes something general and helps it become specific.)
But I’ve been thinking that, this week, I should post something a little more concrete. This week, I’m going to outline a pretty specific saving strategy that, if followed, can help you to meet your values and goals and can help you experience the joy of seeing your money grow towards meeting those values and goals. This week, we’re going to be talking about sub-accounts.
Discipline often sounds like an ugly word. According to dictionary.com, there are a few different definitions for discipline. I think most people think of it as “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training,” but in this context, it’s definitely more appropriately either “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill,” or “behavior and order maintained by training and control.” Whichever definition you think fits best, Discipline and making choices to help you stick to your budget is critical to your financial health.
A budget as a plan is meaningless without action. Really, it’s just a list of numbers on a page. What makes a budget come alive and work for us is the choices that we make to adhere to those numbers.
The budget is where it’s at, folks. It’s Pillar #2– but it’s the most important cog in the machine, in my opinion. Having a healthy, functioning budget lays the framework to make the choices that ultimately make our financial lives either healthy or unhealthy.
From having been someone who was completely anti-budget for most of my adult life, I think I can understand some of the barriers to having one. Most of those barriers are due to problems with perspective, I think. Let’s break some of them down.
I’ve written a lot about the importance of awareness (and I’m sure I’ll continue to write about it in the future, too.) I probably at least touch on it in almost every post I publish because it’s so important. Awareness extends not just to the state of our finances or the choices that we make with them. It also extends to ourselves. I touched on that a little bit in “Know Thyself.”
I recently viewed a webinar about short dollar credit usage that got me doing some thinking about a particular aspect of awareness. It seems to me that, though we all have different circumstances, most people who have financial hardship fall into one of three categories of financial people. It might even be appropriate to call them archetypes. Let’s call them the Overspender, the Undersaver, and the Poor Scheduler.