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Who Doesn't Need to Budget?

September 5, 2018

In the spirit of students around the country going back-to-school, I thought I’d create a super fun, 1-question quiz related to my favorite subject—budgeting. For those who, like me, are wishing they were going back to school sporting a new backpack and supplies*, I did this for you.

Which of the below groups do not need a budget?

  1. People who make less than $50,000/year**
  2. People who make more than $50,000/year
  3. College students
  4. Self-employed people
  5. Stay-at-home moms
  6. Singles
  7. Those who are just “scraping by”

Answer:

  1. Trick question. All of them need to budget!

Okay, okay. The “quiz” was a lot tongue-in-cheek. And you can probably already tell where I’m going with this. But let me elaborate since that’s what I like to do. Basically, every person in every situation can benefit from a budget! Even those making millions—just look at some pro-athletes and movie stars who, despite having had millions at one time, end up bankrupt. For me, it boils down to one simple statement.

If you have a future you need a budget. Long version.

There are plenty of lovely people who think they don’t need a budget. College students are just one group of people who can sometimes feel like “I don’t need a budget. I don’t make much money.” Or they might think “I don’t need a budget since all my money just goes to tuition.”

Those with unpredictable income sometimes also claim immunity from needing a budget. People with “plenty of money” sometimes also claim not to need a budget. Although, in this case, most people don’t say they this exactly. They say that their fiscal plan is to spend less than they make.” While this is, in general, a smart way to live and sure better than the alternative, without a budget you definitely have dollars wandering away in fruitless causes. Aaaaanyyyyyway, back to the college students…having spent several years in the mindsets stated above, I want to (in the nicest way possible) shake them by the shoulders and ask them the following questions:

  • Do you earn any amount of money?
  • Do you get (additional) money (from parents, scholarships, etc.)?
  • Do you buy food/snacks/drinks ever?
  • Do you go out with friends ever?
  • Do you order stuff on Amazon?
  • Do you drive a car? Do you put gas in it? Do you insure it? Register it? This is fresh on my mind since I just renewed mine.
  • Do you go to the doctor ever?
  • Even if you are living at home, will you someday want to move out? If the answer is no, that’s a bigger problem than I can help you with:)

You have things coming your way!

Assuming you, Hypothetical College Student, answered yes to one or multiple of these, a budget is definitely for you! You are one day going to want to or need to buy a newer car, put new tires on it, will want to move out and need to have a deposit and first month’s rent, you may hopefully want to get married one day, you may want to do a study abroad, take a vacation with friends, move to a new city, donate to charitable causes, help a buddy out. The list could go on and on.

We all spend more than we think.

And if you are not a college student, don’t get all comfy, thinking we weren’t going to talk about you!:) You (and I) could go thru that same list above and have it trigger some expenses or amounts you might have forgotten about or wanted to pretend you don’t have. I have had a good handful of people tell me that they literally have no money to spend on anything other than bills, so they don’t need a budget. But when we really get into things, they finally admit that they really do go out to eat, buy gifts, go on trips, have memberships, etc. It’s not like they were just lying to me, either. We all are kind of shocked at how much life costs us and do a nice job of burying the true cost under the figurative rug.

If you have a future you need a budget. Really short version.

Basically, if you have a future you should be budgeting. And here’s the smartest thing I’ll say all day: we all have a future! We don’t know what exactly our or the future holds for us and the timeline of future events, but we can be really confident that it will be better if we have some money planned for the knowns and the unknowns.

Summary***

Budgeting is for everyone. Your life and future on a budget are better. Budget. Please.

——

*I’d do almost anything for a new backpack. Throw in a new, narrow-ruled notebook, some fresh pens and pencils and I am in.

**This is the highest, average salary in the US for an age group. Those whose age is 45-54 years old make the most of all the groups and the average is $962 per week or $50,024 per year.

***Really trying to accommodate the shorter attention spans today. You’re welcome?!