Top reasons people don't budget
Photo by: afiler
One of they things you can do to save money is create and follow a budget. I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say many times that when you start following a budget, it’s like getting a raise. I’ve found that to be very true. When you start tracking and pruning your expenses, you find money that you were previously just blowing.
What I’ve seen is that many people don’t follow a budget. The reasons why vary, but here are just a few I’ve come across:
Don’t know how to create one
This is actually a very good reason and one that I in fact struggled with for many years. I kept trying to use Quicken and MS Money to do a budget. Both of these tools have you create a budget that is the same across all months of the year. While this strategy may work for some, it didn’t work well for me at all, but I continued to try every so often, finally just giving up.
I then somehow stumbled upon Dave Ramsey’s book, which had this extremely obvious way to do your budget: do one for each month and create it a few days before that month begins. What baffles me is why I never thought of doing this before? I’m often amazed at how when we are in the thick of things, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees.
So if this is your problem, head over and read my article on creating a budget. I think it will really help.
Too time consuming or complicated
This one is a myth. Many times people don’t want to follow a budget as they thick it’s too complicated or time consuming. In reality, they aren’t complicated at all, especially if you use a software package like You Need A Budget, Mvelopes, or Pearbudget. These packages all guide you through the process and make your budget easy to update and track.
Honestly, even without using these packages, budgeting doesn’t take much time at all. For myself, it takes about 15-20 minutes to layout the budget for next month. Now, if you are creating your budget for the first time, plan on maybe 30-60 minutes, but once you’ve done that, subsequent months will take far less time.
I recommend updating your budget daily. This should take all of 5-10 minutes and consists of entering the transactions for the current or previous day.
If you are married, I also recommend meeting with your spouse to review the budget. We do this weekly, but some of my readers say they only meet once a month. Do what works, but in any case this shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes either. The side benefit is that you will be communicating with your spouse and spending some time together!
Don’t want to be controlled
Many people don’t want to be controlled. To be blunt, feeling this way about a budget is just immature. To me, it’s the same as saying I know I have a problem, I know it’s causing me difficulties and holding me back, but I don’t want to do anything about it. If you know you have a problem, and you don’t feel that problem is important enough to fix, than a budget won’t help you. You must first recognize the you a problem AND be willing to take steps to solve it.
If you are married or in a relationship, the really great benefit of having a budget is that the budget itself becomes the control point. I know in the past when trying to cut our expenses, I would get upset with my wife for spending what I considered too much. If I did the budget and she had no input, she felt like I was controlling her, and sure enough I was. This was the source of many money disagreements. When we do the budget together, we both have input and we both agree on the amounts on it. Then, if either of us overspend, or can’t buy that thing we want because we didn’t budget for it, the budget becomes the controller, not me, not her. Since we both agreed on the budget, getting upset with each other is a bit difficult. Being able to “blame the budget” has resolved many of our money disagreement issues.
Plenty of money left over
“I don’t need a budget, I have plenty of money left over each month” or “I already spend less than I earn and save the difference, I don’t need a budget“. First off, if you are saying either of these, kudos to you! Both of these statements are keys to wealth. Now, with that being said I ask, if you were on a budget, how much more would you have to save or invest? Don’t know? A budget would tell you.
Don’t forget, a budget is about managing and tracking your money, not just controlling it. A budget is about telling your money where to go rather than your money telling you where to go. Don’t forget too, you set the budget limits and you can make them be whatever you want as long as your outgoing is less than or equal to to your incoming.
They don’t care
Unfortunately, this one is also a very popular reason. I don’t believe it though, how can you not care? When you go the grocery store to buy food and your debit card is declined, you care. When your child needs lunch money and you don’t have any, you care. When your utility bill comes due and the balance in your checking account is less than the bill amount, you care.
I could go on and on with examples like this, but the bottom line is that unless you have some mental health issue or have a severe addiction, you care. You can deny it all you want, but you do.
Want to quit being afraid of the ATM…you know, that feeling you get when you need money, you go to the ATM, and then the whole time wonder if you are going to get the dreaded “Insufficient funds available for that transaction” message? Ever watch the total for your groceries come up, swipe your debit card and pray the transaction will be approved? Or worse, ever had to start removing items until the transaction approves all the while the people in line behind you just keeps getting longer?
Create a budget and follow it. As if by magic all of the above problems go away. When you budget and track your money, you know how much you have, you know how much you can spend. Simple as that.
Don’t follow a budget? What is your reason? Did you fight budgeting and now do? What caused you to fight the process for so long? Add a comment!