Saving Money, Budgeting, and Obtaining a New “High”

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Today I’m excited to introduce an awesome guest post from Jacob Merkley, who runs the fantastic blog Power Over Life. Jacob writes about mastering key life skills such as money management and self confidence. Here he shows us how we can train ourselves to get a natural high from budgeting. Enjoy the infographic too!

I love saving money; there is just something awesome about it. I love the feeling of euphoria as my savings account increases after I get a paycheck. I feel great knowing that I am on track for my goals, and that my future is looking bright.

I am a finance nerd, or a “numbers guy”, so I know that making strides with my finances is something that make me feel good. I recognize though, that others out there aren’t like this. It’s not the way their minds work.

That’s OK, because you can actually train your mind to start feeling this “high” too.

Loretta G. Breuning, PhD, a writer at Psychology Today, writes that “…when we find something that works, we repeat it. The brain then builds a “happy-chemical habit”” (Psychology Today).

The chemical in our brain to help us build “happy-chemical habits” is Dopamine. Dopamine gives us a surge of pleasure when achieving goals, desires, or fulfilling needs. This surge of pleasure helps to reinforce the positive thinking and actions that we take.

Dr. Breuning also mentions, “Dopamine helps us release the energy we need to get the rewards we want”. If you look at this idea, in context to saving money, you can start training your mind to reward yourself with Dopamine once you have made saving money into a happy-chemical habit.

Before you can start saving money, you need to implement a budget. I know… budgeting can sometimes be looked at in a bad or negative way. But you don’t need to view it in the same way! Budgeting is actually really cool!

Budgeting is as cool as flying to Mars! This awesome infographic explains why you need to budget.

Like I mentioned above, budgeting is cool, but it’s sometimes hard to get started. Here are a few tips on how to implement a budget so you can make it into a happy-chemical habit.

  1. Set aside time every week or month to look at your finances. You can keep track of your spending by looking at receipts or keeping up on a spreadsheet.
  2. Consider using a software or app. In this day and age, there are free budgeting apps and software for you to use everywhere online. It’s convenient, easy, and might make budgeting less of a chore and more of a delight.
  3. As you start to get into budgeting, raise the bar slowly. Saving money is your ultimate goal, but you probably won’t be able to go from not saving money at all to saving $2,000 a month. Set a savings goal, and then analyze your expenses, make adjustments and cut expenses as needed.
  4. Once you achieve your goals, do a happy dance! Shout it from the housetops. This will help release Dopamine and give you a happy feeling.

Saving money is a great idea, and it all starts with proper budgeting. Budgeting will help your finances, but will also help you buy years of lowered anxiety and peace of mind. In addition, you can turn a chore into something you love by training your mind to start feeling the finance “high”.

This year, consider working on your budget. Use the tips above to get started! You will get to experience the same “high” that I do, and your bank account will love you for it.

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Saving Money, Budgeting, and Obtaining a New High - budgeting is cool! Not only does it give you control over your money, it can also give you a natural high! Here's the science:

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