The Diary of a Budgeter – Day 53

Bobbi Olson Articles, The Diary of a Budgeter

Holistic Budgeting

After yesterday’s post, I kept thinking about why budgets fail. That got me thinking about what tripped me up the most in the beginning. It was the irregular expenses – like oil changes. When I think of how many times I forgot to budget for an oil change! It wasn’t a monthly thing, so it wasn’t easily on my radar. I could rattle off all my monthly bills, so it was easy to put them in place, but get beyond what’s right in front of my face? Forget about it!

I thought it was just me, but as I began to nerd out with other budget lovers, I learned this was a very common “rookie mistake.” It’s the same reason we need to budget in the first place. Most of the time, we’re so focused on the moment, the issues, tasks, responsibilities right in front of us that need to be done now, we easily forget about what comes next. Short term priorities get taken care of, long-term priorities get pushed aside. This is often how a minor irritation becomes a major emergency.

The answer? Holistic budgeting! Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines holistic as “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems, rather than with the analysis of, treatment of or dissection into parts.” In other words, when budgeting, we need to look at our lives as a whole, not just our day-to-day rut.

I thought I could create a budget that just covered my monthly bills, groceries and gasoline. What else do I need? Perhaps nothing, day to day! But when I needed that oil change, I felt punched in the gut. When a medical bill came up, I got queasy. When car insurance was due…well, you get the picture.

It can be overwhelming to think about all the things life can throw at us. That’s probably a big part of why they get pushed out of our minds. But if we don’t include room for them in our budget, it’s a rude awakening, because life happens whether we’re ready or not. I like having categories for every individual thing I can think of. Others like just having a “life happens” category, kind of like that junk drawer that holds a little bit of everything. However it gets done, it makes life so much easier!

I’ve found peace in holistic budgeting. I started with the monthly obligations, then moved on to quarterly, then annually. It felt so much less overwhelming when I realized you can save monthly for annual bills! After all the bills were in my budget, I began to tackle the “what ifs” – what if my car breaks down? What if I get sick? What if I lose my job?

It didn’t happen all at once – I’m not made of money! But the cool thing about holistic budgeting is that you start with the whole, then break it down into parts and work at it, step by step. The journey is just as important as the destination.

So go big when planning your budget, then start small when executing it!

Holistic budgeting is planning for life as a whole – enjoy the journey!

Questions? Comments? Email me!