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Favorite Reasons Not To Budget

February 3, 2018

Me again – hi guys! So I’ve been working on a shareable worksheet lately. I know that the term “worksheet” automatically inspires enthusiasm and excitement. Or not and I’ll be working on another title for it:) On said “worksheet” (using quotes around it to indicate the temporary title, just in case you wonder if I’m as heavy a quote user as I am of parentheses and ALLCAPS (I’m NOT)) I’m describing in succinct form the decisions, principles and actions that finally got me on a budget and living by it. And not only living by that budget, but loving it and loving what that allowed me to do – pay off debt (end is in sight!), develop financial self-discipline, understand MY needs and wants from the needs and wants of OTHERS (so I could stop living by a not-my-own value system). The principles and actions on the “worksheet” are not rocket science but they do come from the heart of someone like you – someone who likes to give gifts, someone who is not and probably never will be by nature frugal, someone who spent too long settling for the paycheck-to-paycheck life and calling it normal. The “worksheet” is not yet in shareable format but I wanted to share one of them which is…drumroll please…:

List your excuses. Stop using them.

Here are a sampling of excuses for why you* can’t budget/why you are not on a budget/why you are the exception who doesn’t need to live on a budget/etc:

Budgeting hasn’t worked before for me. Ever heard of failure preceding success? It’s a real thing. Get back on the horse.

It is too hard, Part 1 (too complicated to set up and figure out). Nope. Anyone can do this. You might need to simplify it and/or get help but I happen to know someone (ME) who would love to help you** sort it out and realize how simple it can be.

It is too hard, Part 2 (too time-consuming to keep track of spending). Sometimes the things that are best for us take a little effort. Like sourcing and preparing healthy food. Or working out. Or learning in school. Or pretty much anything worthwhile.

Living on a budget automatically equals no fun. So not true. SO not true! Check out this post for some reasons why your whole life will get better on a budget.

I have plenty of money and don’t need to live by a budget. To this I would say: you are missing out! It feels so right to be wisely directing your spending and income as opposed to just passively knowing you have enough money to do pretty much whatever you want.

I don’t have enough money to budget. I’ll elaborate on this excuse as it’s one I do have sympathy for, having spent some time there. Pretty much every time I tried budgeting and failed was when my income didn’t cover my expenses. It covered most of them but not quite so I let Uncle Discover or Aunt Visa cover a few things. But here’s the thing – I wasn’t really telling my money (accidentally typed “me money” which sounds kind of fun and pirate-y) where to go, much less monitoring it to make sure it was doing as I told it. I was like the permissive parent I watched at a San Diego park last year: “Come on, Jack. You need to come down the slide, okay? There are other kids waiting behind you. Come on, buddy. Please, Jack? We need to go. Jack? We need to go buddy, okay?” This went on for 2-3 minutes and it was pretty clear who was in charge. In the same way, if we don’t track the monies in/out and keep them on task for what WE told them to do we can’t expect them to behave well. Getting your expenses and income down on paper is the only way you can get them to behave. And you MAY find that your income is really not covering your true expenses, even if they’re modest. And if that’s the case I am not going to feel sorry for you ONLY BECAUSE (please keep reading) pity doesn’t encourage and what you need is to be reminded that you are STRONG and you can fix this! You can get more money, either with extra hours/jobs/work, or with a better job/work. You’ve got to have HOPE and you’ve got to MOVE.

Anyway, back to excuses. They can be fun to MAKE but they’re not very fun to LIVE. Those excuses keep you living with a reality that only you can decide if you’re happy with. If you took an objective look at whether you like living paycheck-to-paycheck (or whatever your reality is) I bet you $5 the answer is a big fat no. ($5 happens to be the monthly cost of using YNAB, my very favorite tool:)) And once you decide you don’t like the excuses/reality you’ve signed yourself up for, the fun (seriously) of redefining your money relationship and habits – and getting all the benefits that go along with it – begin.

*I’m not literally saying YOU. It’s figurative or the best pronoun for the situation – don’t take it personally.

**Okay, in this instance I really am talking about YOU. As in, the person whose eyes are literally reading this right now:)