Amanda in the NYT: Why a Budget is Like a Diet

One of the more difficult things about becoming a healthy adult is how we reconcile ourselves to limitations. In the US, where there is a strong cultural attachment to the value of freedom, healthy limits are especially tricky. "If some is good, more must be better! And anyone who tells me differently is trying to oppress me!"

We can get a little touchy about limitations.

In fact, healthy limits are essential to self-regulation. The key is to not get overly distracted by what we don't have, and to instead let the limitation increase our awareness of what we do have.

When our subjective financial experience is set to "broke" or "not enough," it can be very painful to pay attention to money. We spend and spend, but no amount of spending makes the feeling go away. And when that spending behavior makes us go in debt or leaves us unable to pay our bills, then we've created a financial reality that reflects our internal "not enough" state.

People are often shocked to discover that a proper spending plan can be the cure for "not enough." A spending plan requires that we establish priorities, tune in to our values, and put a dollar amount on the choices we make. It can be tough, but ultimately a spending plan demonstrates that there is, in fact, money being spent and the emotional setting of "broke" is not accurate. This can be an important first step in realigning your financial experience to one that is healthy and purposeful.

The Sustainable Money piece by Tara Siegel Bernard in today's New York Times includes more of my thoughts on how money should be seen as an energy source that helps us get to where we want to go. Hope you enjoy Why a Budget is Like a Diet -- Ineffective.


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