In a recent post, Matt at the blog One Million and Beyond describes the fluid budget. I was glad to see it because the "fluid budget" sounds a bit like the one my wife M and I are on.
We've gotten to the cash register at the grocery store and had to take things off the conveyor belt because we exceeded our spending limit for that trip. But at times we've also shifted money from one category because we suddenly decided to spend more in another category. As Matt points out, a "fluid" budget that has some give can work.
Most people think of a budget like a pair of financial handcuffs, very tight and uncomfortable. But the point of a budget is not to determine ahead of time exactly what you are going to spend in every category of your life and then rigidly spend only that amount. A budget is just a tool to help you control your spending so that you are living within--or even better, below--your means.
When your budget is working, it feels good. You know how much you have to spend, you're making conscious decisions about what dollars go where, and most importantly, you're not piling up debt.
Accomplish those things--whether using a rigid or fluid budget--and you'll take a big step toward reaching your financial goals.
More fun at the Carnival of Personal Finance
I saw Matt's post at this week's Carnival, hosted by Christian Personal Finance. Here are couple more of my (and the editor's) picks from the week's selection:
The whole armor of personal finance. At Debt Free Adventure, Matt draws an analogy between the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10 and the "armor of personal finance." It's a cool and very appropriate parallel (though I prefer the more plain-English version of the verse, instead of ye olde King James version). After all, every financial decision is a spiritual decision.
Buy on the rumor, sell on the news. Dorian from The Personal Financier gives his take on the link between investing and psychology, my favorite aspect of money. One interesting thing he discusses here: How the expectation of getting money, in our own minds, is actually more satisfying than actually getting it. Go figure!