This week we had our fourth class in the personal financial management series at Hyacinth’s Place. We talked about budgeting and welcomed a new interpreter, James, into the class. The class was designed for me to teach the residents of Hyacinth’s Place about taking control of their personal finances and learning to budget their money, but last night highlighted that actually, we are all learning from ourselves.
The reason why we budget is to create financial freedom for ourselves. When we get to the end of month, we don’t wonder where the money went, but know why we have or don’t have money left over. Going through the exercise of planning out what you think you spend your money on, and then measuring that against what you actually spend your money on can tell you a lot about yourself that you may not realize.
When my husband and I recently started budgeting, I really overestimated how much I spent on clothes and underestimated how much we spent on eating out. Examining this, we decided to cut back on going out to eat when it was just the two of us, and started having dinners at home that were just as wonderful, or more, as eating at a restaurant. We decided we’d rather spend our “dining out dollars” on eating out with friends, when we’d have fellowship and celebration with others.
Doing a simple budgeting exercise really makes you understand what you spend your money on versus what you think you spend your money on, which can tell you a lot about your values. Apart from the essentials, we all ideally want to be spending our hard-earned dollars where our values lie. You could focus your spending on fellowship, charity, gifts for others, treats for yourself, cooking meals for friends and family, or travel to see loved ones, among many other things. Regardless, tracking your budget helps you shape your spending to match your values, and in this class my hope is that we all learn as much about ourselves as we are learning about budgeting.