We make many, many choices each and every day. On the order of hundreds, if not thousands. From when we wake up (which is itself a choice as to whether or not you try to go back to sleep) until we decide to go to bed at night, we are constantly making decisions about our lives and our days.
This continues to be true especially with money. Each day we make decisions about what our money will be used for. Will we use it for lunch with coworkers or our spouse? Will it be saved away for future expenses or retirement?
Keeping track of each of these decisions each and every day regarding how they help you reach your goals is mentally exhausting. I struggled with trying to remember everything I spent money on in a month before we got onto a written budget plan. It took energy away from my family and my work.
Now, with a budget, the choices I have are more easily made. If we have a plan to save money, then instead of choosing between having a vending machine snack now or not becomes clearer. Which choice do I want more? The momentary snack or the future security of having an emergency fund or funded retirement accounts?
It wasn't easy, but over time, thinking about what I want more over what I want now has helped me make smarter choices. A budget is a tool that can help you, but you are the one that uses it.
Instead of asking yourself what do you want now, perhaps it's better to ask, what do you want most?