Here is another reason to stay on your budget. Breaking it can actually be bad for your health. Agonizing about how you are going to afford a new purchase can stay with you, even after you solve the problem. Researchers now say that our brains don’t like being in debt. Having fears about money affect our health long term. Whether we realize it or not, debt causes stress, and stress causes poor health.
Stress and pain seem to register much more strongly than does pleasure. So, the next time you feel ready to break your budget, keep this in mind. The negative experience of going outside of your budget may not be worth the initial positive experience of making the purchase.
If We Just Had More Money
How often does that phrase, “If we just had more money” come out of our mouths or float around in our brains? The thing is, that people of all income levels have money fears. Most of us never seem to think that we have enough. Someone living from paycheck to paycheck wants a little cushion of savings and maybe a better neighborhood to live in. The family with the better neighborhood wants to be able to afford a nicer kitchen, plus private schools and the best kids sports and activities. The family with all of the above wants a house that is twice as big plus better vacations. It never seems to end. To top it all off, all of these individuals and families are probably living in some kind of debt.
Next take a look at people in the poorest parts of the world. These are people who have just a few possessions, live in what we might deem squalor and usually don’t carry money of any kind. They often report themselves as being very happy. Why? It is simple. They focus on community and with less money have less money fears.
When we choose to make a new purchase, we often feel excited and elated. Our happiness increases. Most of the time, though, this is temporary. The initial excitement may give way to anxiety when the credit card bill comes in or we see our bank account diminished by the cost of the purchase. The new purchase becomes just another thing we own, even if we felt as though we needed it, and as the newness wears off, we are still left with the bill. We may experience the stress of buyer’s remorse. Sometimes this occurs within 24 hours, and sometimes it doesn’t appear for months, after we have stepped away from the initial purchase.
The Non-Existent Budget
While breaking the budget can have stressful consequences that negatively affect our health, not having a budget at all may be doing even more damage. Many families believe that not worry about a budget can be healthy, but not knowing about your own money can have some serious consequences and cause a lot of stress. “I try not to think about it,” is a common response when you ask someone if they know where their money is going. The fact that they are avoiding thinking about it is a sure indication that not having a budget is probably causing stress. Although many people would rather have a root canal than establish a budget, finally knowing how much you have to spend and taking control of how it is spent can be very empowering.
Knowing for a fact that you have the money for a purchase eliminates all of the negativity surrounding it, leaving only the positive reactions to the purchase. A lack of money fears equates to less stress, more happiness and better health.