A Tangible Budget Trick

Key Takeaways

  • In this digital age, we have fewer reasons to write things down by hand.
  • Science shows that the part of the body that has the greatest connectivity to the brain is the writing thumb.
  • By hand writing your budget, you create both something tangible and a stronger connection from your brain to that budget.


These days, you may go an entire day without needing to pick up a pen or pencil. Everything’s digital and we find ourselves typing on a keyboard or smart device far more than we write things out by hand. However, when it comes to your budget, it might be worth it to write it out on a piece of paper.

Sure, there are all sorts of budgeting apps and ways to create digital versions of your budget, but give this some consideration. For as high-tech as all those digital options are, they’re missing one important element. You see, science has shown that the part of the body that has the greatest connectivity to the brain is your writing thumb.

Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, that writing thumb of yours has a strong feedback loop to your brain. In other words, you have more interaction with your brain when you write something down, and this, in turn, may help you better remember it than if you were to simply type it on a keyboard.

Now, there’s another benefit to writing down your budget. If you write it down on a piece of paper, it’s tangible. You can touch it, you can feel it. Of course, your keyboard and your smart devices are tangible, but they don’t provide you with the same sort of tangibility.

There’s a bit of a disconnect when it comes to our digital devices, and it’s something we have come to find when we communicate with each other without speaking, without seeing the other person, without being present in a room with them. It’s a totally different kind of communication than being in a tangible space with someone.

If you want to give this a try, write out your budget on a sheet of paper and do it maybe once every year or two. It will stick with your memory so much better, so that whether you’re considering an impulse buy, or debating whether to buy a new versus used car, or deciding how much home you can afford, you’ll be reminded of those budget parameters you wrote out. Hopefully, this can help stop you from making financial decisions you’ll regret later on.

So pick up a pencil and give this tangible budget trick a shot. Repeat it every now and then, and you may find it that much easier to remember how you want to be spending your money. Until next time, enjoy.


If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of Gary’s previous posts that you might enjoy:

Using Your Budget to Get to Your Happy Place

Keeping Your Finances in Check

Gary has provided wealth management services to clients for over 30 years. He is credentialed in financial services with practical experience in all areas of finances and money. He is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything, and co-author of The Business Battlefield.

He is genuinely interested in getting to know the person in front of him. Who are they? What’s most important to them? Where do they want to go in life? Whether he’s advising clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, Gary is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

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