Well, I’ve already sunk myself. Diet is in fact a four-letter word. But just because English makes it one, doesn’t mean you need to treat it like one. And you certainly don’t need to treat your budget like one either.
We all have a diet. We all have a budget. No matter whether you are actively engaged in it or not – It is what it is.
Let’s Start with Diet
How many times do you hear people talking about ‘going on a diet’? I even had a doctor ask me if I was ‘dieting’ during my pregnancy. Regardless of whether it’s celery or donuts, what you choose to consume is your diet. Period. The folks at Merriam-Webster agree… three of the four definitions for the noun reference the food / drink we regularly consume. Only the very last option follows the more comment use as a “regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight”. I can only guess that modern society’s standard use of the word dictated adding this last option.
The problem with accepting society’s most used definition is that by teaching ourselves to ‘go on a diet’, we make the condition temporary and fleeting. We feel restricted and denied things we would otherwise enjoy. Instead, we would be so much better off by thinking of changes to our diet as life-long alterations. We can change the way we view food, adjust our palates to what tastes good, and re-train our bodies to find certain foods delicious and satisfying. I truly believe that after re-training our bodies to crave the nutrition of real, unprocessed foods, the foods that used to bring such comfort will instead leave us feeling sluggish and sick to our stomach, all while our waistlines thicken.
Same Goes for Your Budget
Now, let’s translate… Your budget is simply HOW you spend your money. Some people choose to track every cent to know exactly what they are spending everything on. Others choose to spend freely without consideration for how much might be spent in any given category. Similarly, some people make the conscious effort to spend less, or even significantly less, money than they earn. Yet others pay no attention to the fact that the funds leaving their account far exceed what is coming in. But I still contend that ALL of these examples can be classified as a budget.
But similar to society’s definition of a diet, I would go out on a limb that most people generally think of a budget as a strict regimen of how much money can be allocated to any specific activity. Now, those feelings of restriction and denial come rushing back in. We can no longer enjoy our activities or allow ourselves to purchase any goods. To that, I say HOG WASH! All that is required is to change the way we view our money, adjust our spending habits, and re-train our minds to find satisfaction in self-sufficiency and less consumer-driven
stuff junk. After this re-training we will crave quality time with our loved ones and hobbies while the stuff junk we used to buy in searching for happiness leaves us feeling empty and still searching for more, all while our wallets are slimmer.
Who Would Have Thought…
…that the idea of changing your ‘diet’ would bring about the side effect of changing your physical appearance as opposed to letting your desire to change your appearance be the reason you go on a ‘diet’?
…that changing your ‘budget’ – as in how you spend your money – would bring about the side effect of bringing more satisfaction and happiness to your life by seeking out meaningful experiences as opposed to letting your desire for stuff bring your emptiness and blow your ‘budget’?
We don’t have to treat budget like a four-letter word to be scoffed at or to avoid. We’d all be better off by accepting that we all have a budget. How you choose to utilize it makes the difference in whether it brings you joy or whether it brings you restriction. Same goes for your diet.
~ Mrs. Maroon