Budgeting: Projection or Prophecy?
If you follow the ethos of The Secret, vision boards, and generally harnessing the power of our minds, then it may not be a stretch for you to also believe that financial budgeting can be a self-fulfilling prophecy — for better or worse.
I’ve recently finished a full year of living in one place in Australia. Looking at the next year (which I won’t be staying for), I see nothing but financial pitfalls that could — would — will? — rip my finances to shreds. I expect unexpected bills to come in the form of car and home repairs (some already have). I have already seen all the utilities (including phone and internet) go up in price. And truly, I believe the longer you stay in one place, the more money you spend between making yourself comfortable, repairing and replacing things, and adding social or extra-curricular activities to further enhance the experience in ways that you don’t need while initially getting used to your surroundings. The number of financial expenditures I’ve already made in the name of “surviving” (happily, at least) have far exceeded what I was spending on a monthly basis a year ago when I moved in.
But the question remains: is this act of foretelling my financial future one of projection or prophecy?
Am I projecting my finances? Am I using past experiences and a bit of current foresight to project this financial doom and gloom on the horizon? Is it a logical act of budgeting that is showing me the future, and am I simply along for the ride with little influence on the outcome?
Or am I prophesizing my finances? Have I dreamt up these circumstances based on fears and other irrelevant experiences? Have I taken the pattern of increased expenditures that I’ve started to experience, and multiplied it into a prophecy of disaster — one that could become an unnecessarily self-fulfilling prophecy?
Either way, to what degree will my projection or prophecy become a reality? If I continued to give it energy — the sort of negative energy described above — would I bring my own worst fears upon myself? Is it possible that by imploring of the universe “don’t send me a bill, don’t send me a bill,” all the universe hears is the “send me a bill” part and complies? Would the financial failure I foresee become a reality by virtue of solely my state of mind?
Or am I just that good? Do I have enough of a grip on my finances and the harsh realities of breaking the budget to know what the future holds? Will the financial future happen, regardless of my state of mind and the energy I give it?
I’m truly not sure of the answer. Dear readers — you tell me: when you visualize your financial future, how much of the time do you project based on calculations and experience, and how much do you prophesize based on fear or a gut feeling? Do you believe you can affect your financial future with your state of mind?