I was loathe to keep a budget.
It meant tracking the bananas I bought and electric bills I paid. It meant spreadsheets that took up the whole computer screen. It meant doing things with numbers, like crunching them and running them.
And it meant that I would have to see precisely, unquestionably where I spent my money.
Money and I – maybe money and you, too – walk a rocky road together. I can fall for the convention that money’s the clearest marker of my success. I can feel like I don’t have enough. I can be jealous of people who have a lot.
And I can tell you that these ways of thinking about money don’t serve me at all.
So, I did some reading to see if I could find some better ways to think about money. I read some bestselling pros, some quilters-turned-investors, some millionaire-in-a-month wunderkinds. And I figured out some things.
But the most important thing I figured out was my own fear.
Because, at the bone, the reason I didn’t want to keep a budget was fear. Not fear that I was squandering cash willy-nilly, though I do sometimes. And not fear that I was spending more cash than I had, though I do that sometimes, too.
I was afraid that I would find out that the money I spent didn’t match up with the values I kept. Or, as Gloria Steinem would say: “We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.”
And it was time for me to see if I walked the real walk with my values or just talked the hot air talk.
I made a spreadsheet. I crunched the numbers. And I saw that my fear was partially justified, partially not. I spent plenty on annual credit card fees, impressive devices and not-as-plenty on visiting my brothers, supporting friends’ crowdfunding campaigns.
Whelan, I thought, it’s time to put more of your money where more of your mouth is.
So, I am. Or, I should say, I’m trying. Yes, I can get toppled by unforeseen circumstances and old ways of thinking. But I try to rebuild on this basic foundation:
Our values – those personal truths we live for and fight for – are also worth spending for.