You need a budget. We all do. I say it every week. But what you also need are goals.
Essentially, budgeting is all about goals. So much so that we could of called it You Need A Goal, except YNAG is possibly even worse than YNAB.
So from the smallest little goals to tremendously large undertakings, budgeting is all about goal-setting.
Budgeting is not about restriction or withholding joy. It’s not even about putting things off. Budgeting is just about saying, “What do I want?” and then, “Can I get my money to play along?” And, as it turns out, if you tell your money what to do beforehand, money is fairly compliant. It’s when you’re trying to tell your money what to do after it’s already done the thing, that doesn’t work so well.
When you’re tackling a big goal, it can feel impossible and overwhelming. So, you break up the goal into smaller, bite-sized chunks. And little by little, you make progress and then you experience some momentum, and pretty soon, you achieve the big, impossible goal.
It’s all about perception. If you think about having to pay off $30k of student loan debt, you might find yourself stalled and numb. It might as well be $300k, right? But try thinking about accomplishing it in smaller steps. Break it down into tiny, little amounts and then you are talking about $300—even $30. It feels different. You’ve changed your perspective.
The key is starting—taking that first step.
The beginning is hard. No doubt you’ll feel tons and tons of friction. But break it down, and take the first, small step.
And I want you to think about your goals, beyond paying off debt. I want you to think bigger. What are the dreams and goals you have for yourself? Have you always wanted to do this or go there or own that? Whatever it is for you—that is what I want to talk about. Think about that goal.
Whatever it is, whatever that goal is, add a category in the software and put some money toward it. Make it real.
Until you actually take your money—which is your life—until you take your money and say, “I’m going to use some of my life toward this hobby that I know I’ve been wanting to do or to do this thing I’ve always dreamed of.” Until you actually take some of your money and apply it to that thing, it’s just talk.
So, I want you to take some actual money, right now—fire up YNAB—even if it is just a dollar, ten dollars, twenty dollars. Steal from another category that’s not as important, and commit a little bit of money.
If you want a house in France—to me, that’s crazy—but for you, it may be just perfect. You say, “I want the house in France.” How much does that cost? I have no idea. But put 50 bucks toward it. Make it real.
Until you budget for it, and acknowledge, “I’m going to use some of my life”—that is your money—and actually give that money the job of pushing you toward the goal, it’s just wishing.
As soon as you start putting your money toward something, it becomes real. And then you start building momentum. And then instead of kind of just plodding up the step, you start hopping up those steps and then sprinting up the steps. That momentum just keeps feeding on itself and little by little, step by step, pretty soon you’ve done something amazing.
So, my challenge to you: before next week’s Whiteboard Wednesday—and preferably before five minutes from now—I want you to stare at your YNAB, allow yourself to dream a little bit and set some big goals. Add a category for that crazy thing that you know you want, and put a little money to work toward your dream. Make it real.
If you can’t wait until next week for more whiteboard wisdom, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you have a question or an idea you’d like us to address in a future Whiteboard Wednesday episode—we’d love to hear from you: [email protected].