How to Fix 5 Common Budgeting Excuses
Personal budgeting, typically, is usually high on the list of things we don’t want to do. Because it is something we don’t want to do, there are all sorts of budgeting excuses. Sadly, these excuses can prevent us from addressing our personal finance challenges.
This article will address the top five budgeting excuses and offer suggestions on how to overcome them.
#5 Why I (We) Should Budget
Almost everyone who contacts me says they know they are supposed to budget. Maybe they read it online, heard from a friend or parent as advise, or perhaps their financial advisor tells them to budget. It’s similar to knowing we should exercise daily as well as eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Knowing you are “supposed” to do something is not motivating, it wasn’t motivating when you were a child and it certainly is not motivating as an adult.
Consider this as the reason to budget: budgeting allows you and your family to decide what’s most important for you and your family. A budget gives you an opportunity to look at your take-home pay and decide how you want to allocate it. For example, what’s more important – renovating your home, eating lunch out daily during the week, or driving a brand-new Land Rover Ranger? It’s an opportunity to refocus on your hopes and dreams.
#4 It’s Time Consuming
We live in a busy world and we also let ourselves get distracted – social media is one example. Anything that is important requires some time and energy. Daily exercise is great example or spending uninterrupted time with your spouse and children. What’s great is that many aspects of budgeting can be automated.
One of the most popular programs continues to be mint.com. While it has its flaws, it still a good way to monitor your spending against your budget. Other apps might be more to your liking.
#3 It’s Too difficult
It’s nearly impossible to budget when you don’t have an accurate picture of where your money is being spent. Your cash flow can be complicated especially if you have fluctuating income or many different sources of income. You may also have many different bank accounts or a large family to manage.
First, de-clutter your bank accounts and credit cards. Reduce both your bank accounts, debit and credit cards. You may not need so many and having less will make it easier to manage.
Next, draw a picture of how your money flows. I typically do this with clients that have their own businesses. Having a visual picture will be immensely helpful as a guide towards preparing a budget.
#2 It’s Too complicated
Keeping track of every expense and making a long list of categories will only make budgeting more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t get caught up in the details, unless it is something that you enjoy.
Keep categories of spending to a minimum. As an example, entertainment costs for your household can include – concerts, movies, books, online monthly music fees, sporting events, date night. If the dollar amount is unusually large or small – then take a look at all of the transactions.
#1 I (We) Tried and Failed
This is truly the top budgeting excuse. Countless times, I have heard people say they have tried to budget but can’t seem to stick to their budget. It’s not that they can’t stick to a budget per se. It’s usually two factors.
First, they never really figured out how much they are spending within a category. If you only guess what you are spending, it’s likely not going to be accurate. Almost always your guess is more like a wish and usually the wish amount is under the actual amount spent.
Second, there is not a mechanism in place to monitor spending during the month. Keeping track in some manner, such as app can help. The reality is there are no apps that completely stop you from overspending. There has to be self-awareness as you spend.
There will always be budgeting excuses. It’s important to recognize that they are excuses and not a real reason not budget. I don’t necessarily recommend that everyone has to budget monthly for forever. However, if you are earning a decent living and are living paycheck-to-paycheck, budgeting can be a way to break out of this cycle.
Have you been able to overcome your adversity towards budgeting? What made you change your mind?