When we talked yesterday about financial self defense for women, we touched on an emergency fund with other affectionate names such as the FOF. I will let you figure that one out for yourself.
Over the years, there has been much discussion about “paying yourself first”. Well, that is the Emergency Fund, that is your savings. It takes discipline like anything else worth doing. Is saving sexy? Not in most cases, but it can make you feel sexy–seductive, sensual, and smart. It gives you a feeling of well being.
Really, it does. It takes away the worry having savings. It reduces fear about the unknown. It is your plan. It is your “umbrella” for a rainy day.
All of that aside, many years ago, I stopped using the word “budget”. It is an ugly word which I am not going to define. I am going to tell you how it makes most people “feel”. Constricted, lectured to, impersonal, and more. My financial planning clients called it the “B” word! I sought and found an alternative–“Spending Plan”. How does that make you feel? It is a permissive word, it is a tempting word, it is a personal word. Your saving plan may be different than anyone else’s because it takes into consideration what you are really doing–it is the reality show of money. No Suze Orman on stage screeching and preaching. No David Bach tempting you always to be “rich”. No Dave Ramsey tying your faith beliefs totally to money.
A Spending Plan looks like a budget, but the word choice sets the tone for you to take your personal wants and needs into consideration. Yes, it can include wants. The Spending Plan includes “Savings” and “other”. Yes, it does. It is a permissive budget. It is a workable plan because it is what you actually do, not what everyone else tells you that you should do. And that is why it is “Sexy” because it is seductive. Everyone likes to plan for future fun as well as the basic necessities. It is “sensual” because it allows you to plan AND fantasize. And it is “smart” for all the things it does for you.
Like any good sex, a relationship comes first. With the Spending Plan, you re beginning your journey to a great money relationship. You notice that I did not say perfect. No relationship is perfect. If it appears to be, someone or something is not being real. So why “fake it” with a budget. It is like resolutions, they sound great, but no one keeps them for long. A budget is a good tool, but it is finished, used for a short period of time, and then put away, or thrown away! A Spending Plan becomes a living document because it allows you to be you and not a textbook example of what you should be!
If you would like a copy of the Spending Plan I use, with the permission of Michigan State University Cooperative Extension, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Spending Plan” in the subject line.