What are your thoughts on budgeting? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Harmful? Does it make us focus on the wrong things? Is it irresponsible not to budget? We asked folks we admired to share their thoughts with us.

Kristi Neilson | Photographer /Creator

I am not financially savvy. I use a shoe box to hold my tax information for the year. BUT- I was raised to be financially responsible. I was put to work on my farm at a very young age and was paid for my work. From age 8 and on I was paid for my time and my parents taught me to save that money. I was a kid, what did I REALLY need? Nothing. I carry that approach with me now in my career and adult life. If I don’t really need it- I don’t buy it. I don’t spend money I don’t have and I pay off my credit card bill in full 11/12 months.
There are exceptions of course. But as a freelancer, you need a savings, You need backup if god forbid theres is an accident and you can’t work or you hit a lull. I have a savings account that I would never dream of touching. Savings are for emergencies or for whatever it is you have been saving up to buy that will enhance your life. Read more>>

Christina Russo | Photographer & Creative Agency Owner

Personal finance is very important to me. I paid off all my debt almost two years ago (student loans, medical bills, credit cards) and it was the biggest accomplishment and relief. When you’re debt free you have so much freedom, you can choose to walk away from a job if it is not making you happy and fulfilled. A big part of becoming and staying debt free is keeping a monthly budget. It was difficult at first because I had an “all or nothing” mindset around it but I learned that I can tweak it monthly and move things around to better suit my lifestyle. I budget monthly amounts to “sinking funds” for things that I know may come up or that I like to do annually. Vet bills and car expenses are ones I save for as mini emergency funds and something like skiing is one that I know I’ll want to do every winter. The biggest part of budgeting is honestly just tracking your expenses, once you consciously see where your money is actually going it is a huge wake up. I am very passionate about sharing my finance journey in hopes I can inspire others. Read more>>

Jess Onesto | Wedding Photographer

I do have a budget! Funny enough, I’ve actually been on some form of a budget since I was 12 years old. Chalk it up to having a financial counselor for a dad. Even though there have been times in my life that I’ve hated living on a budget and wanted to quit, I’m so grateful for the lessons I took from my parents because it really set me up for financial peace. Most people hate talking about money because it’s stressful and they think being on a budget will make it more stressful. The reality is that having a budget opens you up to freedom and peace with your money, not more stress – especially when you are running a business! When I first started my business, I didn’t know anything, so I was foolish with the payments I received. Once I figured out how to budget and bookkeep my business, I was able to learn how to set aside money for all of my expenses and taxes so that when April rolls around I’m not tearing my hair out. Read more>>

Triya Leong | Voice Actor

I used to spend so frivolously and then end up struggling and penny pinching. Now, I use my budgeting app to help me categorize my finances into subgroups where I cover my monthly expenses, remember to budget for my annual expenses, and am able to build up emergency funds for my business, my personal life, and my dog. When it comes to personal finances, I think of what I need now and what I will need both in the near and far future, what big ticket goals I want to set up, from smaller big ticket goals like a new couch, to big big ticket goals like a house, and also making sure to save a percentage of all of my income for taxes so that when I get hit with owing taxes, I’m ready for it. Then, having a sub-section of “personal money” that I can spend on whatever I want without feeling guilty about spending that money. Read more>>

Vaspour Antanesian | Co-Founder at Elit Productions [A Creative Film Production Agency]

Since a young age, I was thought the importance of financial prudence and having a budget. However, I do not use a budget in the typical definition of the word. I have attempted it, but I find myself having to constantly adjust it which defeated its purpose. To me, budgeting has taken a different shape entirely. It’s binary, with only two categories, There are the non-negotiable expenses that come from my paycheck from the top and then there is everything else. For example, my mortgage payments, contributions to 401k, contributions to my Roth IRA, and my fixed monthly expenses come out the very first of the month, and I always have a clear understanding of what that number is going to be every month. I do not budget for anything else, AKA I try to spend as little as possible on all of those other things. Once you learn about compound interest, and how much every single dollar you don’t spend can improve your life style in the future, it becomes much easier to not waste money on things you do not need. Read more>>