The Birth of Fearless Budgeting

Listen to this blog post: “I Can’t Stop Spending!” podcast, Episode 053.

I’ve decided to create a series of spending plan training podcasts because it feels like that is the most important information I can offer you right now. If you want help creating or maintaining a spending plan, this podcast series is for you. Even if you already have a spending plan, the training will be a helpful refresher and will likely provide you a with new perspectives and tips. It’s the exact same process I’ve successfully used with my one-on-one students for seven years. And there’s no charge for this podcast series.

The Birth of Fearless Budgeting

I decided to call my training podcast “Fearless Budgeting.” I wrestled with this name for months. As you may know, I despise the word budget, but I strongly believe in the act of allocating money to categories, which is the definition of budgeting. I’ll go into more detail about spending plans vs. budgets in a later episode. But “Fearless Budgeting” truly encapsulates my overriding approach … to gently take you by the hand and help you overcome your terror around facing the truth of your spending, which is a crucial first step in the process, and to ease you into a practice that will keep you clear around your money and engaged with your spending plan ongoing.

By the end of the series, you will have a spending plan foundation and you will know how to work with your spending plan ongoing. And, you can always arrange a one-on-one session with me if you need additional help. Just go to for details.
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Resisting that Irresistible Urge to Spend

Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”

Image by George Hodan

Image by George Hodan

Recently, I came across an article about a woman in the U.K. who had to keep a backlog of rent money because there were issues with the property owners being unable to set up a bank account for rent. The article said:

The problem [with the rent money] was only alerted to Ms Bracher upon [her] contacting the company in May, and it has been unable to tell her when the situation is likely to be resolved.

Ms. Bracher has a history of mental health and compulsive spending problems, and she is concerned she will be unable to resist using the accumulating rent for other purposes.

She said: “I have told Network Housing that I am in danger of spending the money and that it is causing a great deal of anxiety having the money in my account, but they do not seem to care.

As a result, I am not sleeping properly and it is having a massive effect on my day-to-day life and health.

They have put me in a vulnerable position as they cannot tell me when the problem will be resolved and I cannot cope much longer.”

Wow! I can sure relate to that. I clearly remember those days when having a pile of money accumulating in my checking account was gasoline poured on the fire of my compulsion to spend.

But I must say that I am awed by Ms. Bracher’s honesty and integrity around this matter. She reached out to them. And she had clear self-awareness of her problem. That buildup of pressure when we accumulate money is all too familiar to me.
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Recorded YNAB for DA Members Workshop (Accounts)

The workshop went very well and I’m so excited that the recording worked! Now, aside from my sounding like Daffy Duck, I’m hopeful that this recording can help anyone, even a complete beginner. I really tried to keep it simple and resolve the issues that seem to be problematic for DA members.

Total time is 1:21 (one hour and 21 minutes). The great part is that you can stop and rewind as needed.
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Money, Not Magic

I heard this expression for the first time yesterday and loved it. Boy, how true that is. When I hear about others’ miracles in DA, it gives me hope. As a newcomer, I had to have faith that miracles would happen for me. And they have.

But there came a day in my recovery when I was faced with the fact that money is finite. A day when I had no more money in a discretionary category, like Clothing or Entertainment, for the rest of the month because I had spent it all. A day that has repeated itself over and over in my four plus years of recovery in DA HOW. Days where I must sit with the pain of delaying gratification.

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Taking the Spending Plan Seriously

For many years in my other 12 step program, I went to meetings, spoke to people, but never took the Big Book seriously. Didn’t really read or study it. It was kind of there, on the side. It wasn’t until I understood that the Big Book contains the instructions, the “meat” of the program, and began to seriously study and follow the directions that my recovery gained traction.

In DA, the Big Book is just as important for the reasons outlined above. But so, too, is my spending plan. In it is the outline for how I spend (and save) my money. I consider my spending plan Divinely inspired as it was developed not just by me, but with the loving guidance of more than one pressure relief group team over the years.
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How to Accrue in Categories

Recently, I’ve spoken to a number of people who don’t incorporate accruing in categories as part of their spending plan. The first requirement of membership in DA is a desire to stop debting. There are no rules about accumulating or working your spending plan in any particular manner.

Why Accrue?

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Shipping Costs are a Thorn in My Side

I have to admit to having a resentment about shipping costs when I order online. Despite the fact that my sponsor has worked hard to help me understand that this is simply the cost of doing business when you have a health issue, it still bugs me royally.
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Free Spending Plan Spreadsheet available (no longer available – other options listed)

If you have reached this page, I apologize, but the spreadsheet is no longer available. Over time, we found some mistakes and that raised a concern that there might be other errors which would mean you wouldn’t be able to trust the spreadsheet.

UPDATE: I’m developing an online video training program to take the fear and anxiety out of creating your spending plan. The way I’m envisioning the course, it will be as if I’m holding your hand and guiding you every step of the way. I’d really appreciate it of you would complete the short one question survey at the end of this post. Thank you! Susan B.

There are many options available for tracking your spending.
(YNAB stands for “You Need a Budget”)
This is the spending plan software I use.

Other spending plan resources:

Excel Deluxe “Envelopes” Check Register Spreadsheet
(with One-Click Sort, plus Reconcile Section): $11.95

I played around with this and found it to be a really great option. The only downside for me was that you are limited to only 50 categories. You can test it out with the free version, which only allows five categories.





Budget Pulse

Calendar Budget

Pear Budget

Snow Mint


There are plenty more … just ran out of energy. 🙂

I’m sorry for the inconvenience, and I hope you find something that works for you.

Parts of a Spending Plan

Before you can have a spending plan, there are a number of steps to take. But today, I want to briefly describe the various components of a solid spending plan. DA is a program about clarity. We need to be willing to live in reality and that means that our money is finite.

We can no longer afford to just spend arbitrarily and hope for the best. For me, it is not enough simply not to debt. If I don’t have a detailed spending plan, I can easily fool myself into thinking I can afford one item, totally forgetting about a fixed expense (for example, car insurance) that is coming up.

I’m developing an online video training program to take the fear and anxiety out of creating your spending plan. The way I’m envisioning the course, it will be as if I’m holding your hand and guiding you every step of the way. I’d really appreciate it of you would complete the short one question survey at the end of this post. Thank you! Susan B.

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