Is it a word that makes your stomach begin to churn and your chest tighten?
Does a halo of pain and guilt surround you once you start planning for your budget and tracking everything you spend after it?
It’s time to shatter the advice of the financial gurus: Budgets and tracking your spending may not necessarily be a good thing.
Budgets make you feel bad
When you feel bad, you tend to attract bad.
Feeling bad about money means you’ll soon be sitting on your lounge room floor surrounded by bills, eating baked beans on toast, and wondering how and why you keep attracting ways to spend money rather than keep it.
I loved reading about the myth of budgets in a recent article by Ramit Sethi. He says budgets are basically futile, because no one really does anything with the information anyway, except feel guilty. It’s a cycle that continues for the rest of our lives, with rarely any changes, or increase in our money.
He said exactly what I thought, but felt too stupid and financially uneducated to say.
Tracking budgets suck and don’t work because they constantly remind you of how shit you are at managing money, how you can’t afford anything, and how you always have to say no.
We were born to live life to the fullest and experience everything our soul wants to.
Denying our soul it’s pleasures only causes us to shrink and feel bad. (BTW, I know how difficult it is to believe and trust that you do have the ability to say yes to those pleasures.)
The Problem with Tracking Money
When we were in the midst of our financial crisis my biggest regret was,
I wish I never started to track my money.
We wanted to get financially savvy so we could create a life of travel. We were pretty financially savvy before this, without tracking any money, or learning from any gurus – we just followed our guts and invested smartly.
For some reason we decided we didn’t know enough so had to learn from the real smart people, who told us to become financially independent we needed to track every cent coming in and out and follow the budget.
At this time, we didn’t have much coming in and a lot going out, and it seemed as if the more I tracked it the worse I felt and the worse our situation got.
I was fastidious about tracking our spending even though something kept telling me to stop as the awful feelings it was generating was just creating suffocating and devastating experiences.
I soon believed that:
- I was useless at managing money
- I can’t make enough money
- my spending is out of control
- and I’m broke
All of those limiting beliefs that led to a gigantic financial crash.
But, surely there has to be some good to tracking your spending?
Budgeting and tracking money can be a good thing. It can help you to identify how you’re wasting money on things that don’t nourish your soul e.g. bank fees, and excess fuel costs, so you can make changes. You do need to be aware of your regular monthly expenses so you can pay them.
This is NOT a post giving you permission to be financially irresponsible. But, you can be financially responsible without the over-reliance on budgets and tracking spending.
If you’re one of these rare people that can attach very confident and positive emotions to it, then you need to keep doing it.
But, if you are like me and then you can’t, you need to let the daily tracking go for a while until you develop that money management confidence. (If you have more money coming in then out, tracking it will be more of a celebration for you!)
When we started our road trip around Australia, I was tracking our money every day…and blowing the budget every day. Those old spiralling out of control feelings of guilt and fear came rushing back in.
I felt so bad about myself and so guilty any time I wanted to enjoy a coffee at a highly recommended café. I felt lack and denial and insignificance.
Sure enough, just like our financial crisis, those bad feelings started to dry up the well.
We had a few disastrous months of little income coming in and I snapped to awareness to make a change. I put the budget away, stopped fearing and feeling guilt, and began The Money Project – my journey to feeling good about money for soul nourishment.
The money is now flowing in more than it is flowing out.
When we focus on giving up and cutting back we end up living from guilt, which offers no space of love and service.
It’s an abundance black hole.
When we bring good feelings into our actions, abundance will naturally flow to you. When you have the flow, you don’t have to worry or fret over your budgets.
6 Step Alternative to Budgeting and Tracking
Good money management and financial control is important, so here is an alternative to budgeting and tracking that will help you feel safe and confident about money, plus allow for opportunity to nourish your soul.
- Track your money to get rid of those expenses that aren’t necessary or don’t fill you up.
- Automate your monthly bills. Now you can feel safe as they are taken care of – no late fees needed.
- Pay yourself first into a high interest savings account.
- Put money away for emergencies.
- Go about your day enjoying your life. You’ve got your priorities covered so now you can relax a little with your money.
- Work on developing inner peace so you don’t buy things for a quick feel-good fix. Spend your money on things that nourish your body and soul.
Once you have these things taken care of you’ll feel much better about your money and your ability to handle it, which means you’ll make better decisions about where to spend it and guilt and fear will no longer be your besties.
Extra Big Tip: Earn more money
Instead of cutting back, scrimping, saving and saying no to your heart’s desires, why not just earn more money?
If you feel a lot of guilt, fear, and dislike around money, you’ll never get more of it.
I hate missing out on things, and have never seen the point to saving IF it takes away my ability to enjoy my life as it is now.
So I’ve always worked multiple jobs or longer hours in order to create more money.
It wasn’t easy and it was a sacrifice in itself – long hours, several jobs, and work I hated. But, it pulled in the extra cash to make the travel dreams happen quicker AND so I could still enjoy my life a little.
I loved having money flowing to me from many different directions, and when I had these good feelings, it just kept flowing.
It’s why I’ve always followed the working holiday strategy. Because of it, I could leave University three days after graduation with little money saved, and still be travelling 16 years later. I could never have saved enough money to travel long term for a year. I could just not be dedicated enough to the long-term savings and sacrifice plan.
It’s why we work AND travel now. We’d never have the discipline to scrimp and save to do it in this style otherwise.
So if the tracking money and budgeting is making you feel depressed, then find a way to earn more money, so you can enjoy your life now. AND ease off on the fastidious tracking and try our 6 step alternative approach. (Let us know your results!)
Are you a budget and tracking fanatic?
Do you hate it?
Do you cut back or earn more to save for travel?