The idea for the BudgetingBlocks™ system came to me when clients of my financial planning firm were struggling with their budgeting system. Spreadsheets, envelopes, tracking apps; they tried it all. Then, one day, I thought “Why not give them something they can play with?”… and the idea for the BudgetingBlocks™ was born.

Of course, I didn’t use this system with just those clients. It’s been used with countless other couples. I’ve found that each couple (and individual) who uses the BudgetingBlocks™ discovers something new about how they feel or work with their money through this new budgeting system.

They’re not the only ones learning something new, though. I have, too!

HOW YOU LEARN AFFECTS HOW YOU BUDGET

Depending on whom you ask, there are four to eight different styles of learning. How people absorb, process, and retain information varies based on their learning style.Don’t know your learning style? Here’s a brief rundown of the four main types of learners — all of which I’ve learned more about since I started toying (pun intended) with the idea of the BudgetingBlocks™:

  • Visual/Spatial: visual learners learn best by seeing and observing things, like pictures, diagrams, maps, or written instructions.
  • Auditory: these learners absorb and comprehend info best through listening and speaking. Lectures, discussions, and reading aloud help them learn better.
  • Reading/Writing: there’s some overlap with visual/spatial learners here, but reading/writing learners prefer using writing, journaling, reading articles, or researching.
  • Kinesthetic: these are your hands-on, tactile learners. They learn by doing and experiencing things, like breaking down a machine to see how it works.

These learning styles are often talked about when it comes to teaching students, but it can help adults beyond the classroom, too — particularly when it comes to budgeting.

If traditional budgeting systems like spreadsheets and envelope systems don’t work for you, that’s okay! It’s possible that they don’t mesh well with how you learn. The BudgetingBlocks™ method is a new way to look at budgeting that’s especially great for kinesthetic or visual/spatial learners who need to see or explore where their money is going.

It’s also a great way for auditory and reading/writing learners, as there are exercises inside the BudgetingBlocks™ system designed with your learning style in mind!

COUPLES HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF MONEY

BudgetingBlocks™ is for everyone, no matter if you’re single, married, or in a long-term relationship. However, I’ve found that it’s especially helpful for getting couples on the same page when it comes to their finances. I’ve talked about how combining finances is one of the most important things you’ll do with your partner, but it’s stressful and easy to mess up if you approach it the wrong way.

One big thing to remember about combining finances: each person may have different perceptions and habits with money. Your partner may believe saving is the most important part of a financial strategy, while you prefer to pay down debt and spend when you need to. Your partner may think that a monthly grocery budget of $300 isn’t that high, while you think it should be closer to $200. These differing perceptions of money are often based on differing values and beliefs.

Having money talks with your partner can help you better understand each other. And using BudgetingBlocks™ can help you visualize those differences in money values. I’ve seen this in action!

EVERYTHING IS LAID OUT ON THE TABLE

You may not like to think about where your money is going or how much of it you’re spending. It’s a common attitude, but it’s also not the healthiest way to have a relationship with money. When you spend money according to your values, though, I’ve learned that spending money doesn’t make people feel guilt or shame in the same ways.

Getting over that mindset takes time, and regular budgeting can help. I’ve seen just how much BudgetingBlocks™ helps people understand how much income they’re taking in, how much debt they’re paying down, how much they’re putting towards savings, and how much leftover cash they have to spend. It also makes them feel more confident!

There are no surprises with BudgetingBlocks™: it’s an honest look at how your money is moving around.

BUDGETING CAN BE FUN

I certainly think budgeting is fun, but then again, I’m in the financial planning business! Of course budgeting isn’t fun for everyone. For many people, budgeting is stressful, emotional, confusing, and even leads to fights with their significant other.

That’s why this new budgeting system calls on something you probably did as a child, in simpler times: played with building blocks. Plain blocks made of plastic or heavy wood that turned into anything you could imagine, like a fort or a car or a dinosaur. Even if they required hand-eye coordination and a wee bit of physics knowledge, playing with these blocks was fun.

Our similarly-designed BudgetingBlocks™ does the same thing for budgeting, and I’ve loved watching clients and customers smile while they build their budget (literally).

BUDGETING IS FOR EVERYONE

Even if you haven’t been good with money in the past, I’ve learned that there’s always room for improvement. To continue the building block example: if part of your building block creation fell down, you simply tried again as a kid, right? You figured out why it fell down and then built it back up — stronger. And you probably never intentionally tried to build something that didn’t stay up on its own.

Likewise, anyone who wants to improve their financial habits through budgeting has the desire to try. And that’s an excellent place to start. Using BudgetingBlocks™ is the next step. We know that everyone is different, but we firmly believe that this system will help you see your money in a whole new way.