I used to have a habit, during times of tougher personal finances, of thinking “I’ll just try not to spend much money”. A typical example would be a day out. My thinking would be that “I can’t really afford it, but if I try really hard to not spend much at all, I’ll be alright”.
What I learnt though, is this thought process is not really sensible and actually causes stress. The reason is that if you have not set yourself a budget, no matter how small that budget is, you don’t really know where you stand and you spend your day out (or whatever you are doing), worrying about every penny spent.
I learnt that setting a personal budget, even if very small, frees you up to enjoy yourself. Now you know where you stand, you know what you can and can’t do, which makes you feel good AND you feel great if you come in under budget!