How to Spend Money Like the Government

Spend money like the government

I’ve often wondered what life would be like if we spent money like we had no worries. Sure, it might be fun for a while, but spending money like that would end soon for many of us who aren’t buried in Benjamins. To gain financial freedom we must not only be frugal about how we spend money, but also earn as much as we can. The formula for financial freedom is simple: spend less than you make. If you stick to that strategy over time and have an increasing difference between your income and expenses, then you can achieve more of the goals that matter to you.

I’ve written before about What the Government Teaches us About Living Without a Budget. What I want to look at today is what would happen to us if we were to spend money like the government. As opposed to boring you with long prose, I’ve decided to use a handy dandy infograph from If you’ve not checked them out, then I highly recommend them. Their service is entirely free and they have a wealth of infographs available. I will also add that I have not been compensated by them, but am simply directing you to them as a helpful service.

Making Spending Personal

Learn about infographics software.

Seeing things like this in plain numbers helps make it more concrete for me. Do you spend money like the government? If not, what are some of the benefits of not doing so?



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About the author:

I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. You can connect via Twitter / Facebook.

33 comments on “How to Spend Money Like the Government

  1. It’s impossible for anyone to spend like the government because we can’t just run the printing presses over at the Fed whenever we please. Government debt is staggering and puts in perspective even “high” amounts of student and credit card debt that any one individual might have. What we fail to realize is that each American has a huge amount of debt in the form of our share of the government’s debt…if people realized this maybe they would be a little more critical of the federal government not balancing their budget?
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Lost Your Job? 5 Things To Do Right AwayMy Profile

    • Great point Mrs. Pop. I think they’re too busy lining their own pockets and throwing money around like crazy which just encourages them to go over budget.

    • I would too Pauline…but then again reality can is a bit different. :) I agree Pauline that, in the end, I spend my money as I see fit and not to make someone else happy.

  2. Very interesting article. I, personally, think the government should budget just as an individual or household would. Sound money policy would be a hard sell though to most…too many people rely on the government spending. I WISH I had the ability to increase my income like congress and print money like the fed…life would be easy!!
    Funancials recently posted..Can the Government Save the Economy?My Profile

    • Thanks. I agree that it would be a hard sell. But I look back to times when we had a balanced budget, it simply requires discipline and a committment to being sound financially.

    • Good point JP. I agree that a certain amount of debt, if managed wisely, can be a rational tool for a nation. The point I am making though is that it can’t be done with reckless abandon. We see the results of it in our government and if we do it ourselves then it can lead to disaster.

  3. If I spent money like the govt. I’d be rich. I’d appoint my mom as the chairman of stealing my own money (FED) and ask her to loan me paper bills with no value. I’d then sell those paper bills to the Chinese in forms of debt and make real profit in the process. Oh man, life would be sweet!
    Veronica Hill recently posted..Rejected for Being Debt Free, Really?My Profile

  4. Excellent post and love the info graphic. I agree that spending with an unlimited bank account might be fun for awhile, but at the end of the day how much “stuff” does one really need? I wish the clowns on both sides of the aisle would take some fiscal real fiscal responsibility all of the time instead of their meaningless posturing on the subject around elections time.
    Roger @ The Chicago Financial Planner recently posted..Mutual Funds – Are “Family Values” Important?My Profile

    • Thanks Roger! I find that pictures are better than words at times. I agree that there is only so much stuff one can use or need. If the clowns were able to work something out then I think I’d fall out of my chair.

  5. I think I’d run out of things to buy. When you spend for every single thing you think you might need and even if you don’t you keep spending just because you always have, it would seem a challenge to keep finding things to spend on. I say all the time if I ran my business like the government, I’d be broke. We once got a letter in the mail from the IRS saying they couldn’t do something (I can’t remember what) because they didn’t have our mailing address!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, 14 Year Old HeroMy Profile

  6. Wow. That is staggering. I couldn’t imagine spending that much money. There are so many benefits to saving rather than over-spending. The ability to retire, have nice things (guilt free), travel, have hobbies.. the list goes on! Not having stress from debt and interest rates and creditors calling you is a huge one too. I can’t believe the government can get away with spending that much.
    Daisy @ Money Smart Guides recently posted..Free Financial ResourcesMy Profile

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