I plop down on the deck with a freshly-made vodka gimlet in one hand and a print out of our bank statements in the other. I take a long sip and start working my way through our budget, line by line.
“Food. Utilities. Insurance. Bullshit.”
Now, I’m not saying that food, utilities, or insurance are bullshit. I’m saying we have an actual line in our budget labeled ‘Bullshit.’
We have a Bullshit Budget and IT IS TRANSFORMATIVE. I think you should have one, too.
What’s a Bullshit Budget?
A Bullshit Budget is money that’s specifically allocated to reduce the bullshit in your life. What? Yes.
Everybody wants less bullshit in their life. So why not build ‘bullshit-removal’ into your budget? Click To Tweet
Everyone’s idea of ‘bullshit’ is different. Maybe your ‘bullshit’ is grocery shopping and yard maintenance. Maybe it’s driving your teenagers everywhere and cleaning the house. Maybe you think managing your business’s bookkeeping and social media is bullshit.
Whatever your bullshit is, you can pay someone else to do it and free up time and energy for things that bring you joy. Multiple studies have shown that outsourcing unpleasant tasks does, in fact, increase happiness.
Imagine spending less time on chores, less time sitting in traffic, less time wrestling with the weedwacker. Sounds pretty happy-making, doesn’t it?
Related: Money doesn’t matter if everything else sucks.
How to find money for your Bullshit Budget
I bet you’re thinking “that’s great and all, Sarah, but I don’t have enough discretionary income for a Bullshit Budget. I’m counting down to payday every blessed month.”
That might be true! But I’m willing to bet that you have a lot more discretionary income than you think.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Print out last month’s bank statement and last month’s credit card statement. Pull a highlighter out of your desk drawer.
Now, clear off the dining room table. Put on your favorite mellow album, light a candle, pour yourself a glass of something delicious.
Take five deeeeeeeep breaths, remind yourself that you are not your financial choices, and then take an honest, clear-eyed look at every purchase you made in the last 30 days.
If that purchase is one you regret, highlight it. The happy-hour you got roped into and didn’t really enjoy. The drunken Amazon shopping spree. The aspirational clothes you bought because you wish you were the sort of person who wore leather pants: they all get highlighted.
Now add up all of those purchases.
All that money? That’s money you could re-allocate to your Bullshit Budget.
Instead of buying things for your fantasy life, you could hire someone to mow your lawn.
Rather than a round of cocktails you don’t even enjoy, you could have your groceries delivered.
Instead of boredom buying $75 worth of throw pillows, you could pay someone to schedule Facebook posts.
But here’s the thing: if you’re going to re-allocate this money to your Bullshit Budget next month, then you can’t spend it on regrettable purchases. You probably shouldn’t pay someone to mow the lawn and spend $90 on scented candles. If you’re struggling with that, this will help.
What to do if you really, truly don’t have money for a Bullshit Budget
Take a look at those financial statements again. Where could you rein in spending? Eating one less meal out could pay for one or two lawn-mowing sessions. One Target impulse purchase could pay for one Lyft ride for your 15-year-old so you don’t have to chauffer them to dance class.
Experiment for a month! Maybe you’ll find that you’d rather eat that meal out and spend your Saturday mornings mowing the lawn. But you might discover that eating a frozen pizza at home so you can free up your weekends is a good, happy-making trade off.
Could you skill swap with a friend who doesn’t mind doing the things you think are bullshit? Maybe you could trade your photography skills for house cleaning. Or you could trade your editing skills for bookkeeping services. Trawl through your Facebook friends and see if there’s anybody who’d be interested in swapping!
Ask yourself: Do you even have to do this bullshit in the first place? Landscape your yard so there’s no mowing required! Enlist your kids, partner, or roommates in all that cleaning. Make more freezable meals so you don’t have to go grocery shopping so often.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly reduce bullshit if you spend it right.
But I want to hear from you! What bullshit would you like to remove from your life? What are you currently outsourcing and how did you make that happen? Tell us in the comments so we can learn from you!