I never thought I’d even USE a budget, let alone LIKE it.
I don’t like being told what to do, see. Not by a row of numbers.
Not even BY MYSELF.
So I always skipped that chapter in every Suze Orman book.
But now I’m a budget FANATIC.
I love my budget. I think of it affectionately, like it’s my boyfriend. My budget actually makes me feel free, nimble, and savvy. (I use YNAB, which is intense and amazing, but that’s not the point.)
A few weeks ago we talked here about declaring your non-negotiables, and many of you told me how powerful it was to declare your own.
So let’s declare our priorities around money.
Suze Orman says our priorities should be people, money, then things. I totally see the wisdom in this. And you often hear people say [smugly] that they’d rather invest their money in experiences, not tawdry materialistic Things. Again, laudable.
However, I REALLY LIKE THINGS.
For me, beautiful things are non-negotiable.
But that doesn’t mean that I run myself into credit card debt… in fact, never again carrying personal credit card debt is another one of my non-negotiables. Getting into debt on your credit card is no laughing matter, it can really ruin your finances and knock your credit score down! CreditAssociates can help you with credit card debt relief if you really need it, remember there is always a way to help yourself and get through that bad time.
As you can see, it’s a bit of a paradox. I’ve logged so many hours pondering this, I should be a pro tightrope walker by now.
Let’s talk specifically for a minute about wardrobe spending.
This might seem like a silly topic to some, but it’s all part of declaring dominion over your beautiful life. And fashion is one place it’s easy for me to thoughtlessly overspend, or buy junk, or basically screw up Every Single Good Financial Thing I’ve ever done for myself. We talk more about this in Week 3 and 4 of The Queen Sweep when we look at our closets and wallets, but for now, here are my personal guidelines.
I happily invest in:
- High-quality classic handbags, wallets, and shoes.
- Black basics-t-shirts, sweaters, pants, you name it.
- Jewelry I plan to wear my whole life.
You see the theme, right? I expect to use these pieces on a regular basis for many years.
However, I gleefully bargain-hunt for:
- Anything in white or pastel fabric-t-shirts, shirts, dresses, all of it. It won’t last more than a season in my wardrobe.
- Trendy shoes and handbags that will be passé after a season (I usually buy one funky thing each season that I fully intend to toss after six months, like the fringed purse and leopard flats I’m rocking today).
- Umbrellas, sunglasses, hats, pens…because I lose and trash them.
Now! What happens when my wonderful system comes up against an insane craving??? Like these $550 purple Victoria Beckham aviators I fell in love with???? They’re so perfectly purplesquely purple.
Ahhhh. This is the beauty of having a “Bliss Fund.” You could also think of it as a “freedom fund,” a “slush fund,” or a “reckless spending money” fund.
The whole point of a Bliss Fund is that it’s FOR the frivolous, decadent, and impractical. It doesn’t really matter whether you put $5 or $5,000 in your Bliss Fund; it can still give you a sense of glee and mischief that is totally delightful. (Really. Try it.)
So that’s where these glasses would fit. They’re not practical; they’re not a wise investment; they’re pure FUN.
Now! As it happens, I’ve been raiding my Bliss Fund quite a bit recently to buy new furnishings for our new digs. That barrel is dry, folks. This is the beauty of having a budget-it’s not a question of right or wrong, or being good or bad, or deserving or guilty-it’s just honest information about what resources are available.
I have choices, of course. I could raid my other rainy day funds, like my insurance fund, my car maintenance fund, or my vacation fund. (Buying it on a credit card’s not an option, remember, and if I took $550 out of my grocery fund we’d be down to instant ramen.) But those make me feel tight and anxious, so they’re also a no go.
Instead??? I am going to maniacally scour the internet for cheap purple aviators. The miraculous thing is that I don’t feel bereft, or sad, or ashamed for wanting something expensive that I “can’t afford.”
Nah. I’m just taking ownership of how I choose to spend my money.
Tiny shift in perspective.
HUGE PAYOFF IN FEELING LIKE A BADASS.
Pssst— we talk about this and other ways to be a badass in The Queen Sweep. First broom goes out Monday; are you IN???? If you aren’t signed up yet, click the image below~
Try this right now-declare your own personal financial priorities.
What are you willing to invest in? What are you gleefully cheap about?
Declare it! Own it. Write it down, even if it’s on a post-it. And live by it.
P.S. This blog post started as a lively flurry of conversation on Facebook after I saw those purple shades on Instagram. Your funny, witty comments made me really THINK about this topic…and then it turned into this week’s post. So come join the convo! (Instagram is my favorite. Pinterest is good too.)
P.P.S. Tiny Tip: if this is a new concept, try breaking your spending down by category. Don’t do great big financial priorities right off the bat-think about your grocery spending, or eating out, or vacations, or furniture, or what you save for, or your utilities-where are you willing to be frugal, and where are you happy to pay up?
P.P.P.S. Tiny Tip the Second: When I was really broke, articles like this that implied that not everyone was also flat broke would make me feel livid, ashamed, and full of rage and futility. If that’s you, I urge you all the more to try this exercise. The tools I talk about here on the blog and in The Queen Sweep are the very things that helped me dig out of debt and create a thriving financial life. They just might help you too. Wherever you are, you can start declaring dominion right there.
Happy weekend, loves!!! And HAPPY SPRING!!!