recipe, wealth, wisdom, willpower, cash crone, successMoney Management 

Recipe for Budget Success

When I started sharing my credit card debt and the journey to wealth, my credit card totals were around $11,000. My totals are $8126 – approximately $2900 paid! I opened a teeny tiny account stock account.  I started a Financial Freedom account and deposited all of my earnings from Job #3 into that account. This money is earmarked for a future house, at which time I will rent out my current home for additional income. I’m still on track for a credit card pay-off in 2016 (update, August 2016: My credit cards are paid off!). I haven’t decided what to do about the truck lease, which ends in August of 2016. But the truck is for another post…

I went a little off budget this month and ended up cutting my food budget to balance it again. It’s time to pull together meals from whatever is in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry – getting creative or doing without certain things. Eggs are a staple in my refrigerator, and they are so versatile and make quick and easy meals.

Budgets are sort of like cooking; they can be easy or complex. Some people don’t like to use them, and some can make them work so much better than others. But we can learn a few things about budgets from recipes:

  • Imagine the best outcome. When we begin a recipe, we don’t think, “oh, this isn’t going to turn out very well,” or “if I follow this recipe for brownies, it means I’ll never be able to enjoy pie again.” We just imagine how good the end result will taste, and happily gather the ingredients. Sure, we might make a mess along the way, or incorrectly measure something. But the recipe box isn’t going to blow up, and the kitchen can be tidied (and remember, it is easier to clean up little messes along the way). Imagine how wonderful it will feel to stay on budget and reap the benefits at the end.

  • Measure. Know the amounts necessary for each part of the recipe. Each ingredient is measured separately, but with the end result in mind. Necessary expenses – the basic recipe – are important. Then add the extras according to your own personal taste.


  • Every ingredient has a job. Make sure you allow each dollar to stay on task. We need dollars to provide necessities, pay loans, offer entertainment, etc. Leaving an ingredient out of the recipe creates a result that doesn’t taste right.

  • Be willing to substitute. If you don’t have an ingredient, perhaps you can substitute it for something that will work just as well. Applesauce can sometimes be substituted for oil, creating an equally good baked good but with less fat. Trim the fat from your budget by substituting a used car for a new one, or a picnic for a fancy restaurant.

  • Balance the taste. Chefs will say that tastes should be balanced, such as sweet caramel and salt, or chili with salt and lime. Budget tastes should be balanced in the same way. Use a percentage of your income for play and for giving to others. Not too much – you want to stay balanced!

  • If the recipe doesn’t work, change it! Don’t keep following a recipe that doesn’t produce the right outcome. Change the ingredients, or the measurements, or the cooking times. Understand what went wrong. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Take a hard look at the budget that isn’t working and make changes when necessary.

  • Take a risk. Sometimes trying a new recipe can be out of our comfort zone. Be brave! It is good to try new things, and explore new opportunities. Budgets can open doors to new activities.

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  • Enjoy the food you make. It’s okay to reminisce about that amazing meal you had back in the day, or the one you are looking forward to for the next holiday. If you don’t enjoy the meal now – you won’t enjoy the meal then. You’ll always be focusing on things that are not in the present moment. Be grateful for the people and events in your life now.

  • Share. This is just as important as the cooking, and the eating. Sharing the results of your recipe doubles the happiness. Make sure your budget includes giving back in some way, through money or time. Share the skills you have learned along the way. Teach your children the proven methods to living a fulfilling life. We can learn from each other.


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