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Why You Need a “F*ck Budget”

How different would your life be if you only devoted your time, money, and energy to things that you genuinely care about?
by Carrie M. King | Sep 11 2018

Sarah Knight’s book covers are instantly recognizable. Lining bestseller walls worldwide, her tongue-in-cheek, mildly obscene titles playfully nudge people towards a simple truth: that they really don’t have to give a fuck about everything.

And in a world that cashes in on people’s cares and anxieties, this message has resonated with millions of readers. Her three — soon to be four — No Fucks Given Guides offer readers a way to care more about what they want and less about people-pleasing.

This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become a jerk. It just means knowing what you really want from life and learning to be firm and resolute about it.

But, if you’ll excuse the cliché, that’s easier said than done. How are you supposed to figure out how to divide your time, energy, and money? How are you supposed to know what really matters? Knight has a simple solution: you need to devise a “fuck budget.”

Erm, sorry, what?

Yes, you read that right: you need a fuck budget. A fuck budget is the amount of fucks you are prepared to give to any one thing, on any given day. If you say you give a fuck about something, that means you care about it. And if you care about something, that means you’re willing to spend your time, energy, and money on it.

But you’re only one person and you only have so many fucks to give. That’s why you need to budget accordingly.

“…you can deplete [your fuck budget] in the same way that you could deplete a financial budget. So, if you are overbooked on the calendar, and you’re overwhelmed with a to-do list, and you’re overburdened by people’s expectations of you – those are all fucks that you are giving.”

— Sarah Knight speaking on Simplify

So, if your fucks = your time, money, and energy, it becomes easier to see what’s worth giving a fuck about and what’s not. What is the best use of all those things? What will bring you fulfillment and happiness? Knight has a method that can help you decide.

“Your mind is […] stuffed with every single thing that you’ve been asked to give a fuck about, whether you want to or not. […] Sit down and make a list, just write out all of those things and that itself is pretty therapeutic. Then go over the list and just hover over each item with a fat black magic marker and think, “Do I really give a fuck? Do I care about this thing? And do I want to give my fucks to it?” And if the answer is no, you cross it out.”

— Sarah Knight speaking on Simplify

At the end of this process, you should have a clear list of things that you really want to devote yourself to. By budgeting the time, energy, and money that you are willing to give to anything, you quickly become better at prioritizing.

Whether it’s work that you really care about, or people that you really want to help, or TV shows that you actually want to see rather than just watching them for the sake of it, you’ll start to feel more in control of how you spend your life.

When you know that everything you do is worth the fucks you’re giving to it, you’ll probably start to feel more fulfilled and less guilty about the obligations that the world tries to force on you. At its core, Knight’s method is about becoming authentically yourself in a world where it’s so easy to lose sight of what that is.

From birth, we’re told what to care about. We’re told what our goals should be. We’re told what constitutes a valid life in the eyes of our society. However, it’s in questioning those assumptions and impositions that we begin to actually discover what matters to us beyond what we’ve been told should.

And it makes sense then that a book that asks us to question what society has told us to be should lead in with a title that some people might find inappropriate.

But really, who gives a fuck?

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