Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered everything on the menu? Of course not. You can’t eat all that food in a single meal, and you know it. Plus, you may not even like everything on the menu. So you don’t waste the time, money, or food.
Instead, you choose the food that you’re in the mood for, or that you think would take taste the best, or that you’d like to give a try. You choose what you want most.
That’s how budgeting works. Except you create the menu.
You can have the things you want
While you can’t have everything at once, you usually can have the things you want most — especially if you’re willing to sacrifice to get them.
Plan ahead, taking your own personal wants, needs, and means into account, and then buy and do the things that are important to you. That could mean quitting your job to travel, going thrift shopping, or sending your kid to college.
It’s your menu
Remember that it’s your menu (heck, it’s your restaurant) so you get to choose the things you most want to taste and experience. And you do that by thinking about what those things ARE, ahead of time, so that you don’t get to the end of your paycheck without having anything to show for it.
If you can’t remember what you’ve bought, and aren’t putting anything aside regularly for your “big” dreams, what ARE you doing? That’s like mindless eating.
And it’s your money
According to this article, “The report titled ‘The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings’ (.pdf) reveals that over an adult’s working life, high school graduates can expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelor’s degree, $2.1 million; and people with a master’s degree, $2.5 million. Persons with doctoral degrees earn an average of $3.4 million during their working life, while those with professional degrees do best at $4.4 million.”
So you’re probably going to earn at least $1.2 million. Unless your fervent dream happens to be the Pagani Huarya (a 1.2 million dollar Italian car) you can probably get the things you want most if you use your money wisely. I wouldn’t rule out the car, either, if it’s truly important to you.
That’s what budgeting is really all about: helping you select the things you want most from the menu of life. So give it some thought. Create your plan, check your progress regularly by tracking your spending, and adjust as needed. Focus on the thing you want most, while ensuring that the basics (food & shelter) are met.Budgeting on 10.29.12 with 7 comments.