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what exactly is a budget

Updated: Jul 5


Does that word make you go… excusez moi? (ps, that’s French for excuse me?)

Per Merriam-Webster, a budget is a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures. That seems a bit too stuffy for me.

My definition of a budget is:

a path to freedom!

Did you know?

79% of Americans surveyed stated they use a budget, based on a survey

However, of those surveyed,

97% stated everyone should use a budget

*Now we’re talking my language*

Budgeting methodologies can vary greatly per person.

An Excel spreadsheet

A Google sheet

A binder with color-coated highlighters to signify categories

A piece of paper with some chicken scratch on it

Numbers floating around in your head

Post-it notes lining the wall

A fancy app

Poster board for the whole family to see

Whatever your method, it has to work for you.

I have been a spreadsheet and formulas gal for almost 10 years. It’s worked great. I still love it. I am currently testing out a software system, and I’m struggling to give it the fair shake it would need to replace my current practice. I have my nails dug into the spreadsheet - we’ll see if I let go.

If you don’t use a budget, what’s the reason...

Does looking at your finances make you anxious?

Do you feel like you make enough money so you don’t need one?

Do you think it will be overwhelming?

Do you think it will take up too much of your time?

Do you think it won’t work because you have a variable income?

Do you think “I’m operating just fine, thank you very much!”?

Whatever your reason, it’s never going to be good enough. We all need a budget. Period.

Before you tune me out, please give me a few moments to present my case.

A plan for your money gives you control.

A plan for your money allows you to save faster.

A plan for your money prevents overspending.

A plan for your money brings your goals into reach.

A plan for your money gets you out of debt.

A plan for your money stops emergencies from ruining your finances.

A plan for your money is a plan for you.

You are worth the effort. Say that with me… I am worth the effort. Louder… I am worth the effort!

Plus, having a budget will get you a seat at the cool kid’s table. (Okay, I made that one up.)

[I feel like I wrote a haiku with how precise I was with my word placement above.

Money is great.

Experience all your worth.

Money, fabulous.

My English professors would be so proud.]

Quote from the SM handle Female Invest: If the idea of making a budget scares you, remember that if you're spending and earning money, you already have a budget. You just may not have control over it.

I’ll leave you with this:

Your budget is a living document. If one method isn't working for you, try the next one. And so on and so forth until you find the right fit for you. I used a spreadsheet for over ten years. Now I use YNAB* because I love having an app do the thinking for me. Whatever you choose, remember you can always adjust.

*this is an affiliate link

Here's to you!

Melissa Mittelstaedt

Money Coach (AFC® Candidate)

See you on Instagram

#budgeting #budget #budgetingtips #budgetingforthewin #financialfreedom #financiallyindependent #moneymindset #financeblogger #financeblog


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