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Today I am thrilled to welcome back Jesse Mecham to LWSL. You’ll probably remember him from his fantastic post not long ago on talking to your spouse about money. It sparked a huge {positive} conversation for my husband and I, and if you didn’t get a chance to read it, you should check out HERE. Jesse is founder of the financial software company, You Need a Budget. His very-cool software helps people break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money faster, and is based on his own personal experience. It can also be synced to all your devices, and let’s you track your budget and expenses in real time!

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5 Reasons to Budget That are Bigger Than Money | Reasons You Need a Budget | Financial Management | Money Hacks | Budget and Saving | Emergency Fund

This is a Guest Post from Jesse @ You Need a Budget

I could focus on the nitty-gritty of budgeting–(track spending, savings, etc.). I was about to. But I’ve been thinking. It’s important to remind people what they’re working for–what the benefits of maintaining a budget really are. Over the years, I’ve noticed most people under-go the same kind of change once they really commit to budgeting. Those changes are much more far reaching than saving money or paying off debt. Those who learn how to budget become better, happier, healthier people.

Here is the five-step transformation I often see in people who successfully budget–each one a benefit in and of itself.

1. Greater awareness

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” ~ Marie Currie

It’s what I like to call the “good hurt.” Most people avoid really delving into their finances because they’re afraid of what they’ll find. For example: how much they actually owe on their card, how much they spend on eating out, how little they have put away for the future. Burying your head in the sand is a common reaction. However, it was never meant to be a long-term solution. At some point, you have to open your eyes, look at the cold, hard truth, and accept reality. Learn what’s really there and then you can move forward. Enlightenment can be uncomfortable or strange, because it’s something new. But it certainly puts you in a better place than you were before. Knowledge–awareness–gives you power.

Budgeting yourself fosters a more organized daily life.

2. You’re back in control and make better decisions

“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Once a person is armed with specific knowledge concerning his/her financial situation, an immediate change takes place. People naturally make better decisions when they’re informed. As a consumer, they recognize how each purchase affects their finances, and little purchases add up. Impulse-buys are much less likely to happen because they’re weighed against new knowledge and larger goals. It’s so much easier to leave those pretty shoes on the shelf or conquer the urge to just do take-out again when you know you have a greater purpose in mind for your money–a purpose that helps to bring a much more lasting happiness.

3. You give your money purpose and focus on the bigger picture.

“Happiness is a positive cash flow.” ~Fred Adler

Budgeting calls for introspection. With only so much money and so many things to buy, you naturally conduct a mini what-do-I-value-most discussion with yourself. This forces you to prioritize what you really need and, hopefully, decide what you ultimately want your money to do for you. Once the basics are taken care of (food, shelter, clothing etc.), you train your sights on goals and dreams. These are often higher education, retirement, family trips, opening a business, buying a home and so on. Money is a tool to make your life’s goals become reality! Training your efforts and money towards these goals makes for a much more fulfilling and purposeful existence. It’s not that you’re buying happiness, but that your dedicating your life to obtaining what you ultimately want, instead of settling for what you want right now.

You'll feel better about yourself if you budget.

4. You feel awesome about yourself

“When you identify your highest priorities of life, what you value most, you anticipate those events. When you bring them under control, you experience a profound self-esteem you cannot get in any other way. It is the greatest surge of self-esteem that anyone can ever have.”~Charles R. Hobbs

This one may seem funny at first, but it’s completely true. When you’re productive, solve a problem, or overcome a negative habit, you feel great. Budgeting certainly takes a level of commitment and discipline. Exercising self-discipline, and witnessing a positive change take place in your finances, also creates a positive change in you. You experience growth, new perspective (more awareness!) and experience. Eventually, you feel much more in control, powerful, and purposeful. You made something happen because you held to your goal. You have every reason in the world to feel awesome! The interesting thing is, that feeling naturally motivates you to keep improving and making changes in your life.

Goof habits with money lead to other healthy habits like working out.

5. Pro-active behavior affects other areas of your life

“It’s not too late at all. You just don’t yet know what you are capable of.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve seen it happen over and over again. People who really tackle budgeting, and stick with it, realize they have the power to change other sub-par areas of their life as well. The initial challenge of setting a goal and practicing self-discipline with their money was just the motivation they needed to get into shape, kick their smoking habit, clean their messy house, rekindle their romance with the wife–the list goes on and on. I’m not saying budgeting is the underlying key to solving all your problems, but it certainly is an excellent start. Get one area of your life in order (one that you have true control over) and you begin to see just how much power to create positive change you possess. You’ve always been in control. But, finally, you showed your money who’s boss, and it listened. Who knows what else you can accomplish from here.

Jesse Mecham Jesse Mecham is founder of the financial software company, You Need a Budget.is founder of the financial software company, You Need a Budget. Based on four fail-safe rules, Jesse’s revolutionary software teaches a method that helps people break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money faster. His expertise comes from personal experience, and he also happens to be a pretty darn nice guy.

5 Reasons to Budget That are Bigger Than Money | Reasons You Need a Budget | Financial Management | Money Hacks | Budget and Saving | Emergency Fund