On February 25th, I will be releasing my first budgeting course. It’s designed to help you create and stick with a budget and get over the mental and practical barriers that tend to come with the territory.
I’m super excited about it and would love for you to be part of it!
Today, I want to give away a free lesson of the course. Your values are incredibly important to your budget and a cornerstone of being able to stick with it.
Even if you don’t take my course, applying this free lesson to your budget will do wonders for your ability to be in it for the long haul and make it easy for you.
Let’s get started!
Note: Some of this lesson references a download and other parts of the course. You can ignore those references for now as those will be available in the full course.
Figuring Out Your Values and Applying Them to Your Budget
Your values are one of the most personal aspects of your budget. If you budget according to your values, it’s a lot easier to stick to your budget because it feels natural to you.
It’s easy to stick to if you’re intentionally spending money—or intentionally not spending money—in a way that aligns with your values.
Don’t be afraid to be who you are in your budget. Your budget should help you be you and not restrict you.
The only part of a budget that is restrictive is when you are spending money on things that don’t fulfill you.
This includes your needs and your wants. Take your phone plan as an example.
If you don’t value going on the internet all the time and like to be off your phone, only get the bare minimum plan that’s right for you. It feels natural and normal because it’s you and it’ll make it much easier to budget.
Infusing your budget with your values also makes it feel like you have more money than before. You don’t even need to increase your income!
Think about it. If you stop spending on the things you don’t value, that should free up money to do with as you see fit. No income increase necessary.
It’s an automatic raise when you cut out the things that don’t fulfill you. You’ll feel like you have more money.
Let’s start by asking yourself four questions that will be your guideposts to figuring out if you value something or not.
The 4 Value Questions
Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out what you value. It takes a little bit of knowing yourself and a little bit of asking yourself some probing questions.
These four questions are designed to get you thinking about what you value in your own life. Use them when you are trying to figure out if you truly value something
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much time will I spend on this? Is this something you’re going to do or use for a couple of weeks and then be done with it, or will you continue spending time on it? An alternate question you could ask depending on what the expense is would be, “is this something that will allow me to spend more time on something else I value?”
- How much fun do I have doing this? If it’s something where you’re always like “meh” then it’s probably safe to stop spending money on it.
- Is this something I enjoy sharing with others? Sometimes, we don’t consider something valuable unless we’re sharing it with others. If that’s true, then you may still want to spend money on it.
- Does it continue to create value? Vacations and memories are things that continue to be valuable even when it’s over. A lot of experiences are like this. I’m big on Disney trips. They can be expensive but they continue to create value by giving my family and I some awesome memories and allowing us to spend some real quality time together.
Keep in mind that what you value doesn’t have to fit all four of the above criteria. It can only fit one or two if you want.
Why Budgeting According to Your Values is So Powerful
Budgeting can be difficult but budgeting according to your values makes it a lot easier to stick with.
Why? Three reasons.
First is that you are allowed to spend money on things that you like to spend money on. This prevents budgeting burnout.
Budgeting burnout is when you get so caught up in the effort it takes to conform to someone else’s budget that you end up going on a spending binge for a while. I’ve been there too many times to count before I started budgeting based on my values.
It’s the same thing that happens when you try a really strict diet. After a while, you just can’t do it anymore and you end up binging on all of the food you had to keep from eating before.
Second, by no longer spending money on things you don’t value, you’ll be able to use that money anywhere else in your budget, even if it’s just to get above water.
If it turns into completely extra money, you could put the extra money toward debt or saving or your grocery budget. Do with the money what’s best for you after you are no longer spending money on things you don’t value.
Third, it’s always easier to stop spending money on things that aren’t important to you. Always.
All of us could probably cut some things out of our budget
As I mentioned, I love Disney trips. Ask me to cut those out and I’ll look at you like you have three heads. I don’t even think I would be able to respond to you from staring in disbelief!
But ask me to cut out something that doesn’t really do much for me, and I’ll gladly get rid of it.
Next Steps for Budgeting with Your Values
Go through your list of expense item by item and use the four questions above to see if it’s valuable to you.
I’ve created a worksheet you can use to help you.
In the left-most column, list out your expenses and bills that you listed in Module 3. It should be as easy as copying and pasting it.
Then, use the four questions outlined above on each of your expenses. Check off the questions that the item “passes.”
After figuring out what items on your budget you do value, cut out everything you don’t value from your budget. This part should be pretty easy if you’ve really determined it’s something that doesn’t matter to you.
Check out the next section while you’re doing all of that.
As your figuring out if you value something or not, here is a word of caution. Be careful of what you think you may enjoy.
Quite a few years ago I was in a really bad situation where I hated my job. And I do not use that word loosely.
I spent a lot of money on video games in this period, even though I didn’t have time to play them. When I did have time to play them, I would retreat into whatever video game world I was inhabiting and forget about my problems.
At the time, I thought I enjoyed playing and buying video games but it was really just masking the unhappiness of my job.
When I got out of that job, video games were no longer a huge desire in my life. Sure I still enjoy playing them, but it’s not something I value enough to spend money on. I literally buy maybe two games a year…sometimes none.
Dig deep enough to determine if something really makes you happy. Don’t just look at it on a surface level. It could be masking an underlying problem like it was for me.
Again, the four value questions will help in this area as well.
I hope you enjoyed the lesson! Again, just doing this alone will make a huge difference in your budget regardless if you take the rest of the course.
If you’d like to know more about the course, feel free to head here.