I’m a pretty laid back person. It takes a lot to rile me up, and, in actuality, there just aren’t that many things in the world which get my heart beating faster. I’m pretty much the definition of Type B, which made life in the military rather interesting and caused endless angst during Department of Defense clearance inspections for my last company because my idea of organization was to use the search functionality in my computer to find something.
There are a few things, though, where that small section of my brain which is Type A has its say. I am crazy about making sure that there’s no toothpaste on the rim of the tube, because if there is, it makes the cap twist on strangely and messes things up. I’m also obsessive about rigorously entering in every transaction from a side account and moving the money from the side account to our spending account as soon as feasibly possible. I’ll be at the doctor’s office transferring money via my USAA mobile app BEFORE handing the receptionist the debit card to pay the $10 copay. I get what I want, and the poor people behind me in line have just wasted five minutes of their lives which they’ll never get back because of my obsession.
Every month, at the beginning of the month, we create that month’s budget. While some esteemed authors believe you don’t need a budget, we’ve found that when we don’t put some guidelines out there, we tend to let Monkey Brain run the checkbook and are never happy with the results. So, dutifully, every month, I’m adding a new tab to the budget spreadsheet so that we don’t let Monkey Brain play money manager for us. I do the same thing with our value cost averaging investments, giving myself 10 minutes of self-delusion of thinking I’m a mad wizard of the markets, even though we’re investing in the same. index. funds. every. time.
I get a perverse pleasure out of this spreadsheet manipulation. By moving the shells around, I feel like I’m doing something positive in contributing to our overall net worth. While I am contributing because the budgeting exercise ensures that we’re investing and spending less than we earn, I’m not adding anything to the bottom line through this practice.
However, even though I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot once I do the budgeting process, I have only contributed a very small amount to our overall financial goals. Yet, I want to pat myself on the back far more than is warranted by the impact of doing budgeting.
Why do I feel this way?