Some personal finance blog posts are so amazing they are timeless. That’s how I feel about about Wise Bread senior writer Philip Brewer’s post from April 2010, “If Budgeting Isn’t Fun, You’re Doing It Wrong.”
When our customers ask about the proper way to use Moneydance for a non-traditional function I usually offer them a few options and close with “It’s up to you. Make the program fit your needs, not your needs fit the program.” I feel the same way about budgets- they are tools that different people use in different ways to meet different goals.
When I first read Philip’s post I was pretty dissatisfied with my life and wanted to shake things up, but didn’t think I could afford it. Just under 6 months later I stuck 4 rubbermaid totes of clothing, books, and assorted keepsakes in a friends attic. I boarded a plane to Iceland with a small backpack containing a few changes of clothes, my trusty netbook, a return ticket to the U.S. 6 months later, and a vague itinerary.
I like the more concrete points he makes about how we make spending decisions. Looking at the money we spend on the basics like feeding and housing ourselves as things we want and enjoy can help make budgeting a less painful process. The best point of the post, however, is the last paragraph. Basically, we’re probably not going to get our budgets right the first time; starting with that expectation will make the inevitable changes less frustrating.
Whether you’re a budgeting pro or new to the game, give the article a read. I hope you find it as useful and inspirational as I did!