Repeat after me: Controlling my money helps me control my life.
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If you know anything about the debt-free community, you know the number one rule of thumb is to create a budget regardless of your goals. Whether you’re hoping to get out of debt, saving for a car or increasing your net worth, a budget is essential. While it’s true that a budget is instrumental in achieving your goals, I’ve learned that a budget is good for your mental health as well.
There are a lot of bad feelings surrounding money for so many people. Some people are afraid they don’t have enough money. Some people fear they overspend money and some people are convinced money is the root of all evil. Apparently, money is extremely powerful to some people. Well I have news for you. The only reason why money has that much power is because you give it that much power. And I know it’s draining. It’s tough never knowing what’s going on with your money and what’s coming next. Honestly, to say it’s stressful is an understatement. That’s where a budget comes in. It can help you take back control which does wonders for your sanity and mental health.
I’m not gonna tell you how to budget or claim that it’s fun. (And I definitely don’t think budgeting is fun) There are many other books and blogs for that. I suggest, The One Week Budget by Tiffany The Budgetnista Aliche and checking out the blog, Inspired Budget for tips on creating and sticking to a budget. I’m personally a fan of this great budget planner I found on Amazon.
Instead, I’m gonna tell you the not-so-obvious reasons why you need a budget. The reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with your bottom line and everything to do with the bottom of your heart and depths of your mind. Here are 6 Reasons why creating a budget is good for your mental health.
- It eliminates guilt
How many times have you bought something for yourself and felt guilty about it even if it’s something that would help you or truly bring you joy? You aren’t alone. I routinely feel guilt for spending money on even inexpensive non-necessities like this oil dispenser or a sheet mask. Even though I know a lot about money, I have a not-so-healthy relationship with money. My rationale is that even $5 is better spent on a bill than on something I don’t need. I convince myself that I have no business spending money on nonessentials as long as I have student loan debt or a medical bill, etc. And while paying those bills are important, it’s unhealthy to deprive myself of other things in life. Yet, the guilt builds. I know a lot of people feel the same way. I’ve learned that creating a budget is good for your mental health in this regard.
When you make room in your budget for non-essentials, you give yourself permission to enjoy life guilt free. There’s no reason to feel bad about spending money on date night or clothes if it was built in to your budget. And when you spend money on non-essentials that were already in budget, you can feel good knowing that you’re just following the plan you carefully brainstormed. If anything, it should make you feel proud.
2. It shows you where you’ve been
Nothing is more frustrating than getting to mid-month expecting to have $200 in your account only to find you have you have $23.50 to last you till the next paycheck. Those pending payments screw you every time! (Or maybe that’s just me) Can you say anxiety? Of course, that leaves you stressed out as you try to retrace your steps and find yourself asking, “Where did all my money go?” When you have a budget you’re less likely to give yourself a headache asking that question because you’ll know exactly where it went. Having a budget stops you from stressing over the past so you can enjoy the present. And of course, once you know where you’ve been, it’s that much easier to figure out where you are going. This leads me to my next point…
3. It shows you where you’re going
Having any uncertainty when it comes to the future is often a big cause of stress; especially when it comes to money. It’s hard to make any plans when you have no idea what to expect. However when you make a budget that outlines any upcoming bills and future expenses, it eliminates some of that uncertainty thus bringing you closer to some peace. Of course, we can’t predict the future and some unexpected expenses may arise. But having a budget is a good way to have a general idea of what’s to come. Even a general list of those recurring essential bills is enough to help “predict the future” and definitely one way creating a budget can help your mental health.
4. It’s an act of self-care
Hear me out on this one. I’m the first one to admit that making a budget is ridiculously boring. None of it is fun. And it’s certainly not what people picture when they think of self care. Yet, that’s exactly what it is. Whether you like it or not, you need to take care of your money. And you need to realize that money takes care of you. Money helps you provide shelter. It helps you get sustenance. It helps you go on vacations and it helps you stay connected with your friends, etc. So when you take care of your money via a budget, you’re taking care of yourself. You are handling the things in life most important to you and you can feel good about it. When you create a budget, you are doing what’s best for you, your family and those around you. It’s the ultimate form of self care. And of course, self care is good for our mental health. So feel good knowing that you are doing good for yourself when creating a budget to help your mental health.
5. It eliminates arguments
It’s no secret that one of the major reasons behind a divorce in married couples are problems with money. Financial infidelity is a thing as well as policing the way family money is spent which can obviously lead to arguments. Having a budget can help solve that problem. If you share financial responsibilities with someone else, you both need to be on the same page and a budget assists with that. Not only does a budget help all involved parties know what’s going on, it gives each person freedom. For example, my husband and I both have an item in our budget labeled “fun money” with a predetermined amount. This allows both of us the freedom to spend money freely without feeling the need to check in with the other, experience guilt or feel like we need to ask the others “permission” to spend. And of course, when everyone feels like they have freedom when it comes to money, it eliminates arguments thus aiding your mental health.
6. Creates order and helps you feel put together
I’m not gonna lie. My home is a mess. From my car to my living room, everything is in disarray. Such is life with a toddler and small baby. But you know what’s not in constant chaos? My money/budget. Sure, I don’t make as much I’d like as yet and definitely have A LOT of bills to pay. However, my budget is neat and on point! Knowing that one aspect of my life is in order is so relieving and puts my mind at ease. Plus, I like to think of my budget as command central. When your budget is in order it helps everything else fall into place. Since we know chaos makes you feel tense and overwhelmed, it only makes sense that an organized budget can make you feel calm and in control, thus helping your mental health.
So there it is. All the reasons why having a budget is good for your mental health. Clearly, I’m a big fan of budgets.
Even though creating a budget is good for your mental health, it’s not a cure all. Dealing with anxiety or other mental stresses may require additional help. Nor does a budget solve all the systematic issues affecting incomes, but creating a budget is a good place to start. If anything, I hope this is the start to bringing your mind some peace.
*It’s not discussed a lot, but there is an obvious connection between money and mental health. If you are interested in this topic, I highly suggest following Melanie Lockert, who specializes on the topic, on Instagram and Twitter.
Do you create a monthly budget? How has it helped your mental health, if at all?
Terrific Quip: Small changes can lead to big impact in your life when it comes to money.