On Monday, I briefly mentioned that I’m going to stop publishing two posts re: my monthly budget – specifically, the first post where I tell you what my plans are. I’ve been toying with this idea for a few months, mostly since my freelance income picked up, which began to throw my final numbers way off. I would tell you I was going to live off 52% of my income, then end up living off just 40%, and it made me feel like the original budget was redundant. But the other reason I’ve been thinking about not writing that first post is because I’ve been wanting to see how I’d do if I didn’t write a budget at all…
That sounds crazy, right? As the girl who just wrote that she budgets monthly, semi-monthly and weekly, I’d have to agree. However, it’s because I’ve been budgeting that way for so many years that I feel comfortable enough with my spending habits to know I’m not going to go on a spending spree, simply because I don’t have a budget in-place. Truth be told, my budgets never stop me from buying what I want at the grocery store or from going for one extra meal out with a friend, even if it’s going to put me over by $10-15. I check my bank account and credit card balances so often that I know exactly where I’m at, at all times, without it.
Anyway, I’ve decided that the month of March will be a little test for both myself and my finances. I’m not going to write a budget, and I’m not going to add up my spending until the end of the month. The old me would’ve been too scared to attempt this, but for where I’m at now in my financial journey, I’m excited to see if I can loosen the reins a bit and just live my regular lifestyle… sans budget.
Here’s why I think it’ll work:
- I pay myself first. Ok, technically I pay myself first at the end of the month (first paycheque covers expenses, second goes into savings) but that’s been my system for months and it works well.
- I spend the same amounts each month. Since the start of the shopping ban (which was almost 8 months ago!), I’ve been spending the same amounts in almost every category of my budget each month. I made the mistake of letting lifestyle inflation occur once before, which is primarily why I’m doing this shopping ban, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen again.
- I have goals. I know what I’m working towards, which guides all my financial decisions. Above all else, I think this is the key ingredient for any good financial plan.
When March is over, I’ll add up all my spending, compare it against my last few budgets and see how I did. If it’s similar, I’ll try it again for another month… and another month and another month. I’ll always add up my spending at the end of the month; that’s something I plan to do forever, so I can see final numbers at the end of the year. But I’d love to get to a place where I don’t need to budget anymore. Many of the successful personal finance bloggers and wealth builders I know do not budget. It takes a lot of self discipline, mostly in the form of saving first and living on less, but that’s what I’m striving for. Wish me luck!
Are any of you successful non-budgeters!?