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Values-Based Budgeting

One of the things I love about working with clients is how much I learn from them. Many people hear coaching and assume I am always the one teaching the client. But it is very much a mutual relationship. While the learning largely focuses on the client, I get some great insights now and again.

It was from two such insights that the idea for the Values-Based Budget was born.

I had a client who hated the "b" word. That's how she referred to budgeting, as the "b" word. It felt too restrictive and as if tracking her spending had no purpose. The detailed minutiae of budgeting was not for her. She decided to budget in a way I had never before encountered. Typically budgets have specific line items like rent, groceries, insurance, restaurants, etc. My client decided she would lump all of these things into 4 or 5 big buckets. And she named those buckets things that inspired her to pay attention to her spending.

Another client of mine wrote her values (which we clarified together) and other inspirational quotes all over her budget template. She said it helped her remember why she was tracking her money or spending the way she was. Having her values front and center kept her motivated.

After working with both of these amazing women, I thought to myself, what if I combined both of these ideas into a budget template? And so, in June of this year, my c0-designer Laticia Tolentino, and I released the Values-Based Budget.

Creating this budget template has really been an act of love. The goal is for people to see that planning your spending is for a larger purpose than just knowing where your money goes. It's about being able to live your life on purpose, according to your values.

The Values-Based Budget seeks to address these key things:

  1. Align your spending with your values: The first step in using this budget template is to clarify your values. The template includes a step-by-step guide on how to do that. Your values are then added to the excel spreadsheet, and incorporated into your five Alive Categories (overarching categories that excite you). So whenever you look at your budget, you are looking at your values. Is this how much I want to be spending on my Adventure value? Am I spending too little in Self-love this month? You see exactly how well your money lines up with your values, and are able to adjust your spending accordingly.

  2. Increase your motivation to stick to your plan: It is a lot easier to stick to a plan when you know the reason why. When you are able to see your motivation in the same place you are tracking your money, it makes you think a little harder before spending too much in one area, while it frees you to spend more in another.

  3. Be a budget that reflects who you are: A misconception of budgeting is that the budget owns the person who created it. But you are the creator of the budget. In the Values-Based Budget, you design everything. You determine your Alive categories, and the common categories that nestle underneath them. While we provide you a list of potential things to budget for, you get to decide what goes in the budget. And you can (and should) rename any category that doesn't resonate with you. A budget that reflects who you are and how you live your life, is a lot easier to stick with than one that has nothing to do with you.

As you read this blog, what are the assumptions you hold about budgeting? What, if anything, shifted as you read about basing your budget on your values? What beliefs do you hold about your ability to budget? My hope is that more possibilities opened up for you and you are thinking about budgeting and yourself in a new way.

Happy budgeting!

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