Start With Why – Why Do I Need a Budget?
Start With Why – Simon Sinek, TedX
Why Do I Need a Budget?
I’ve discussed before the importance of having and keeping a budget but ‘to start with why’ is truly the most important factor in creating, keeping and maintaining a budget for the long game. It’s not a coincidence that I use the title to match the book from Simon Sinek. In fact, you should watch his nearly decade-old video from Ted on youtube about how great leaders inspire action. Here it is to the left for your viewing pleasure. (18 minutes in length, grab a cup of coffee, its’ worth it.)
Simon went on to write a book about the concept and although it’s been seen and read by millions, we still don’t give it enough weight. If you don’t start with why, you’ll never finish the race. So again, “Why Do I Need a Budget?” You need to answer that question for yourself in order for you to reach your goals. For me, I have many reasons and I think others will relate.
What Do I Want Out of Life?
In this life, when I look at my family, my career, and this world all through the lens of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but be reminded of how we are to be good stewards of what we are given. And we are given much, aren’t we? So what do I want? What is my “Why?” I want to be a light and to make a difference in the world. I want my life to live loudly to exemplify the freedom and grace we’ve been given to show others that there is hope among the destruction, the bad news, the disgrace and sadness. There is hope. I want to raise my kids in a safe environment. I want to spend more time with my family, more time in thought, more time living in this beautiful world that God has given us dominion over. To enjoy the scenery, to appreciate the flavors and smells and to do all of this with the people that I love. I want to help provide heaven on earth through the spreading of the message of Christ. That is my big W-H-Y. It’s a bit all encompassing and the tid-bits may change on a daily basis but there is no other reason that I do what I do.
How Will a Budget Get Me There?
You have to think about what has brought you happiness in the last few days, months, and years. For me, it wasn’t money. In fact, money delivered sadness, disappointment, futility and more. It wasn’t until I decided to quit the chase that I began to feel freedom from the oppression of the American dream. But a budget is what got us there. We had to pay off a pile of debt. We had to reorganize our ‘wants’ into basic ‘needs’ and evaluate the cost of maintaining and minimizing our current standard of living. We had to downsize our expenses, upsize our values and look sideways at the world’s many enticing offerings. It has taken time, but our vision has changed. We don’t see value in early adopting technology at a high price. We don’t see value in eating at restaurants as much as cooking some seriously tasty and different foods at home. And as you may have read in my previous post, we don’t value an abundance of expensive and often mortgaged living space.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” -Simon Sinek
Live Out Your Why
We may already know our ‘Why’ but does our job, actions and relationships reflect our why? It probably doesn’t. We tend to make decisions more often based on money when cash may be the last thing we choose in the ‘pile’ of family, love, relationships and happiness.
How to Get Where You’re Going
Obviously, starting with ‘why’ is one of the most important steps you can take. But you do have to actually start. So how do we even start? I talked about ‘intentional budgeting’ here but I’ll give you a couple additional key points in starting your budget today beyond that. I can’t stress enough to take baby steps and concentrate on them. No one wakes up one day successful. No one wakes up and has a complete change in their budget, life and schedule unless outside circumstances dictate it. We are already filled with previous habits so let’s create new ones slowly.
- Find a way to start visualizing your spending. If you need an excel sheet there are plenty online. If you need a program, check out YNAB, EveryDollar from Dave Ramsey, Mint.com or plain old Excel. Visualize your spending daily if you can. You don’t need to change it, but take note of where your money is going. Even just looking at your bank account or statements at the end of the month or week will give you a better vision of what’s happening to your money.
- Make a small change in your budget in something you’re already aware of. This could be deciding not to eat out because you’ve become aware of the cost. Or perhaps, being more careful of the ancillary purchases you make that add up to hundreds of dollars at the end of the month. This could include sodas at restaurants, gas station purchases when getting gas, grocery store extras that are not value adding or nutritional.
- Take a look at your bank statements to see what you’re still spending money on that isn’t being used or adding value. A great example is cable television or subscriptions. Make sure you’re actually going to the gym if you’re paying for it. If not, just drop it. Don’t even think twice. If it’s not being used, lose it. (Beware of contracts, don’t make bad decisions that may cost you later. That means, don’t cancel a subscription if you’ve committed and will be sent to collections)
I hope these few ideas will get your gears rolling in the right direction to make some minor changes that could lead to major changes. It could take years to start ‘living your why’ but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for a job at the best company in the world.
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