The Philosophy behind Budgeting: Do you do it because you have to, or because you want to?

I was thinking the other day about attitudes of people towards budgeting.

There are those who hate it (the old me before I realized how COOL it is), and there are those who love it (the current and forever me).

I had a recent conversation with a co-worker whom I declined to lunch with because I was watching my budget, and eating out every day was really expensive.

Him: It must be hard to have to budget and watch your money all the time.

FB: Well, it is work for sure, but I’d rather know than not know.

Him: It’d suck if I didn’t have the money to go out and eat every day for lunch.

FB: Oh, do you budget too?

Him: Not really. I just see that I have the money and I spend it, but I don’t like watching every penny go in and out, it’s kind of painful to have to track all that and not be able to spend what you want.

FB: I guess. But I gotta do what I gotta do.


Like my co-worker, I saw it as a prison. A financial prison on paper. I would be told how much I could spend and in what categories. I mean, seriously?

This sounded like torture, having to watch what you fork out and to be aware that this month, buying a new blouse may not be the best idea seeing as you don’t have any money left in an extra funds.

I loathed the idea of writing down every expense, of seeing how much I earned net and making a plan.

A PLAN. Ewww….

The only reason I even did it in the first place (willingly but grudgingly) was because I knew it was the only way out. It would be the only way for me to see where my money went so I could knock out my monster of a $60,000 debt.

And I did it.

I killed my debt in 18 months, which surprised even me. I had given myself 5 years to clear it, not wanting to drag it out to 10 or 15 years like some of my other peers.


In the course of budgeting, it grew on me after about 4 months when I finally got my act together and found a system that worked: using my budgeting tool.

See now, I don’t love to budget so much as I love knowing about my money.

I love knowing what I spend, how I spent it, and what I had left or “saved” for this month to roll over to the next.

I especially enjoyed reviewing each month and each year as I ended it, and seeing the final numbers of what I spent in every category.

There is something freeing about:

  • knowing where your money is going today, tomorrow and next month
  • planning ahead for purchases and knowing you have to cash to do so
  • seeing your assets and net worth grow
  • seeing your debt being knocked out
  • never having to worry about how things are going because there are no more financial surprises!

Without a doubt, I don’t really need to budget any more. I don’t need to watch what I spend and where, because I generally live below my means and I don’t spend like I used to.

I have my own internal controls that asks me:

FB do you seriously want to spend $5 on another Chai Latte at Starbucks?

Why don’t you save that $5 for a later treat this month instead of just impulsively wanting one because you’re near a Starbucks?

Or better yet, wait until you have a meeting with a friend, and THEN spend the money.

And she’s pretty good at keeping me in check, budget or not.


About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.