Budgeting is all about solving a maths problem, right? Nope. It’s about psychology. It’s about happiness. Your budget is more complex than just numbers. And it’s hard to find balance without practicing gratitude.
Photo by John Haln.
As personal finance blog Afford Anything points out, gratitude, as a function of your budget, helps you maintain perspective. It allows you to focus on the expenses that already improve your life (running water, electricity, the internet), rather than spending all your mental energy on the things you don't have. Without this critical component, even the most carefully-planned budgets are vulnerable to the whims of consumption.
There's one little secret to a happy life. One that doesn't require spending crazy money on shiny toys. (Actually, it's not a secret at all. It's an approach everyone knows about … but many overlook.) It's simple: Gratitude.
The best antidote to wanting more stuff is being thankful for everything you have. Practicing gratitude is more effective than deprivation, discipline, willpower, couponing, or any other money-saving tactic out there.
The psychological effect of gratitude is often overlooked because it's hard to quantify it on a balance sheet. However, if taking a moment to say "I like what I already have", keeps you from buying a new tablet, you've already saved more than months worth of clipping coupons. And, you're better off psychologically than you would be if you simply didn't buy a new gadget because you "shouldn't". Gratitude is more than just a feel-good emotion invented for the climax of made-for-TV movies. It's a necessary line item on your budget.
Can We Take a Moment to Reflect on How Lucky We Are? [Afford Anything]