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How to Budget in an Unpredictable World

I used to not budget because I assumed life was too weird and wild to do so.

I mean, how could you? How could anyone decide how they were going to spend their hard-earned resources when crystal balls aren’t exactly handed out with weekly or bi-weekly paychecks? How could anyone guess what life was up to next?

Here's the thing: in more than than ten years of budgeting, I've learned one thing, and it's this:

Life WILL throw you curveballs.

Because it’s life.

And that's what life does.

But just because it does throw you curveballs every now and then doesn’t mean that that's happening all the time. (Or, dear reader, let's hope that's not).

The being said, you can still recognize patterns in your spending.

You can still control your behavior.

You can still control how you react to those curveballs.

Because the more you budget, the more you'll get to know yourself; money earned and spent are just data points showing you your values, habits, interests, tendencies, hang-ups, proclivities and everything in between. And the more you get to know yourself, the more you can construct better plans in the future.

Because that’s it: a budget is merely a plan.

It’s a plan that you should stick to as much as possible (especially if you have some serious goals), but you can make changes here and there as life happens.

And the more you do it, the better you can guess worst-case and best-case scenarios, prepare, react, recalibrate, and, well, just keep going.

If you're a first-time budgeter, and it sounds intimidating, relax. You will mess up in your first few budgets, by overspending here, underspending there, and completely misjudging the cost of a Friday night sashimi dinner.

But here's the thing: you don’t have to be perfect in the beginning (or ever).

You just have to get going on it.

And start.

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