What Can I Learn From a Budget?

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Many people avoid making budgets, according to CNN Money, because they don't really want to know how much they're spending; they don't really want to face the ways they squander money; and they don't want to have a "money talk" with their partners. But if you bite the bullet and create and stick to a budget for a little while, just like with any discipline you undertake, you can learn a lot about yourself.

Where Your Money Really Goes

You may be surprised when you get your budget set up and start tracking expenses and see where your money really goes. It may feel, for example, like stopping for coffee every morning is just a little treat...until it adds up to $100 a month or $1,200 a year. You may not realize how much you're spending on entertainment, car care, clothing or interest on that credit card you're only devoting minimum payments to.

What Your Priorities Are

You may find, when allocating how much to spend for various expenses, that you have priorities you didn't know about. You may learn that you can't imagine letting go of the weekly night on the town. Keeping the night on the town means letting go of or curtailing something else. So you decide to cut out lunches at a restaurant three days a week. While you're deciding where your dollars should go, you can learn quite a bit about what's important to you.

Learn About Your Marriage

If you have a partner, you may both be learning about your priorities. You may feel that your partner's yoga classes are a waste of money while your season tickets to sporting events are a necessary investment or vice versa. Making a budget together can dig up a can of worms you might have been able to avoid dealing with. Ultimately, it could teach you about your partner and about working together toward each others' goals.

Patience and Self-Control

In setting up and sticking with a budget you have to learn patience, delayed gratification and self control. You can't just buy something because it wows you in the moment. You have to decide where the money will come from, what you will live without, and when you will have the means to buy it. By the time you've puzzled through that, you may have concluded that you really don't care about buying that shiny object after all.

References

About the Author

Jane Doyle has been writing for newspapers and magazines for more than 30 years. She served as associate editor for a business/lifestyle publication and has written articles for magazines ranging from "Bank Director" to "Natural Home." Doyle holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas.

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