What a Budget Looks Like: Why You Need A Budget

By Karen Whaley

October 17, 2018

Budgets are definitely not a one-size-fits-all money management tool. However, regardless of the budget type, why you need a budget and what a budget looks like visually are the same.

Yes, you must focus your thoughts to create your desired reality. However, sometimes seeing is the quickest path to believing. Don’t you agree?

This visual budget demonstration is a powerful way for you to understand why you (and many others) need a budget.

I’m a visual person. Reading about the benefits of a personal budget just didn’t flip the budget switch for me. I’m sure you’ve been in those shoes once or twice too.

However, once I could see what a budget looks like in a concrete form, the budget light bulb came on. It may help you make a budget and stick to it too!

Why You Need A Budget

Before sharing with you the visual budget demonstration, let’s review why you need a budget.

While there are a whole host of specific financial reasons for creating and sticking to a budget, they all boil down to:

A budget gives you choices!

End game, having a budget gives you control of your money and with control comes choices. Yes, your choices may be less than you would like if your income isn’t large. But having a budget still allows you to make those money decisions.

When you don’t have a budget, someone else determines the choices you make with your money.


Simple. They are playing on your emotions.

Scientific studies prove you make decisions with emotion, not logic. As a matter of fact, without your emotions, you are unable to make decisions!

A good budgeting process helps identify your emotional whys and spend your money to support those whys.

Without a budget, every spending decision you make has greater potential to be based on someone else’s wants – not yours.

Everyone from marketers to family members influence your emotions. They make you feel fear or pain around not having [blank], Or, conversely, they make you feel if only you spend money on [blank] you will be happy, satisfied, or fulfilled.

Sometimes the manipulation of your emotion is intentional; sometimes it’s not.

Regardless, the emotions others make you feel are typically temporary in nature. The spending decisions you make based on those emotions do not tie to your long-term emotional whys. Nor does the temporary emotional spending allow you to create your dream lifestyle.

Often, your money choices are driven by social norms and your desire to fit in.

Study after study tells us lasting satisfaction is not found when you pursue only the human needs of love and belonging or self-esteem. Yet, it is love and belonging or self-esteem feelings which determine much of your spending.

Yes, a lifestyle you desire is found spending on areas that meet love and belonging and self-esteem emotional needs, but only when you make conscientious spending decisions in those areas.

In addition to emotional spending inspired by others, a lack of spending awareness creates space for spending money in ways that do not support any emotional needs.

Small differences in cost between brand name vs generic items or increases in utility bills due to habitually leaving lights on creep up. These seemingly small spending amounts can prevent reaching your long-term emotional whys and living a lifestyle you want.

A budget calls attention to the emotional whys behind your spending and where you need to reduce non-emotional need spending to remain in control of your money.

Why you need a budget is to give YOU the power of choice. Budgets provide you the ability to achieve your own emotional whys within your income limits despite the emotional influences of other people.

What a Budget Looks Like

So let’s take a peek at a visual demonstration of what your budget physically looks like.

It’s true not everyone’s income is consistent and easy to quantify. However, inconsistent or low incomes are even more reason to ensure you are filling your income container with spending that is emotionally fulfilling for YOU.

On the flip side, the larger your income is the more difference a budget can make. After all, money doesn’t solve your money relationship issues, it only exaggerates them. Ask any multi-million dollar athlete or lottery winner whose declared bankruptcy.

Bigger Incomes = Bigger Choices = Potential For Bigger Regrets

If you have a larger income, you increase the potential of bigger life regrets. Yes, there are more choices to make with higher income. However, your potential for unsatisfying decisions and unhappiness also increases.

No matter where you are on the living paycheck-to-paycheck scale, a budget gives you control to make spending choices tailored to your long-term life passions and short-term lifestyle desires.

Seeing visually what a budget looks like made all the difference in my personal finance journey. I stayed within my income limits and began making spending decisions based on my emotional whys and not because of how someone else was making me feel. Aren’t you ready to do the same?

What is your emotional why? What events triggered your “Aha!” financial moments? How has your life changed using a budget?

Karen Whaley

About the author

Karen Whaley

Financial Lifestyle Coach
Certified Financial Instructor

I help clients use money to live - not live for money. If that sounds appealing, you are in the right place my friend!

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