What’s the secret to ditching your budget

by Nick on September 1, 2010

Yesterday I posted about Liz Pulliam Weston’s list of what it takes to live a budget-free life.  Her list included:

  • No credit card debt;
  • Reasonable overhead;
  • Automatic savings;
  • A fat emergency fund; and
  • A good tracking system.

I then mentioned that there is a secret in the list and promised to reveal the secret.  So what is it?  Look at that list.  It still covers the big-four budgeting issues (debt, fixed costs, savings and emergencies) plus a fail-safe to look back and track.  It’s still a budget.  It’s a simple budget, but it’s still a budget.

So while a budget-free life is something great to shoot for, “budget-free” may be a bad name for it.  I think of it more as “budget-resistant” financial planning.  And it can be done!  It really can.  But it takes time and structure.  Essentially it’s a budget on auto-pilot.

So pay off your debt (I would include all consumer debt, not just credit cards).  Keep your fixed costs low, low, low!  Put your savings and investing on auto-pilot.  Have a fully-funded emergency fund.  And make sure you can keep track of your finances if things aren’t working out.  A debit card is just as good a way to keep track of expenses as a credit card (for tracking purposes, I’m not talking about comparing debit v. credit cards in general).

Notice the first “key” to “budget resistant” financial planning?  Yep – you’ve heard it over and over again at SAFTM!  Put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

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