Ask someone if they’d like to create a budget or eat a sneaker, there’s a good chance they might ask for the salt. Many people don’t like the idea of creating a budget. If you were to ask them why, you’d get several excuses, ranging from it being too hard to not wanting to be controlled.
Excuse 1: It’s too Hard
This is the most common excuse people give when asked why they don’t have a budget. Making one takes a long time, it’s tedious and it’s boring.
To be fair, this is a good point. Budgeting isn’t easy, and it does take some effort to create a budget and stick with it.
Like many skills, though, once you get the hang of budgeting you’ll find it a lot less tedious. You might even start to think it’s interesting.
The right budgeting tools can also help make budgeting easier. Smartphones have plenty of options to help you budget, First Alliance has a free budgeting calculator in their resource center, and First Alliance’s online banking platform even has a My Money feature that helps you keep track of your budget automatically.
You have several options for creating and tracking your budget, and many of them are free. Download a few budgeting apps, print out some budgeting worksheets and see what works for you. When you finally find the right tools for you, you’ll be more willing to create a budget and stick with it.
Excuse 2: I Don’t Have Enough Money to Budget
If you don’t have a good job or a decent paycheck, creating a budget can be pretty intimidating. You might feel as though you already know where your money goes each month without writing it all down.
However, someone who isn’t earning much money needs a budget even more than someone who has a large paycheck. A budget can help you make sure you’re not spending more than you make and it can help you figure out where you can reduce your expenses to make sure you’re not getting into debt. Even better, a budget can help you find some money you can use to build up your savings.
Excuse 3: Budgeting Stresses me Out
Budgeting anxiety might just surpass math anxiety as the most common numerical ailment in America. A lot of people feel as though budgeting will force them to stop spending money on things they really want, or they may feel as though creating a budget will reveal some horrifying financial truth that will keep them poor for the rest of their lives.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone. A lot of people feel the same way.
Here’s the catch, though—you already have a budget. This cannot be overstated enough.
If you’re earning money and spending it, you already have a budget. In fact, any time you spend money you’ve earned, you’re creating a new budgeting category or adding to an existing one. All you’re doing when creating a budget is getting a clearer view of where your money goes.
Another thing to keep in mind about budgeting is if you’re okay with where your money is going, you don’t have to change anything. If you like going out to for dinner every Wednesday because it makes you happy, by all means keep going out to dinner on Wednesday. You don’t have to sacrifice money on the things that make you happy if you don’t want to.
On the other hand, if you are overspending in one category, not confronting it is one of the worst mistakes you can make. The best-case scenario is that you miss out on something you’d really like to do or own because you spent that money on something else. The worst-case scenario is that you have to go into debt because you don’t have the money for something you really need, such as rent or a medical bill.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that if you have spent a lot of money in one category, you don’t have to feel ashamed. The only person who knows what you spent is yourself, and if you decide to cut your spending in a category and use that money for something that’s important to you, you’ll feel really good about yourself.
Excuse 4: I Don’t Want to be Tied Down
When people talk about stressed out over creating a budget, they may also mention they don’t want to feel tied down. They might feel as though a budget is the ultimate financial straitjacket. Why not just spend money on the bills as they come?
The problem with this approach is that even if you have enough money that you can just pay your bills when they arrive, not having a budget leaves you susceptible to impulse spending. This often results in you finding yourself spending money you needed for bills, and scrambling to find money to pay them is a lot more restricting than a budget can ever be.
If you do feel like your budget is restricting how you spend, you can always adjust it. In fact, there’s one budgeting model that just has you divide your money between your needs, your wants and your savings. Within that framework, you’re free to spend your money as you please.
Excuse 5: My Significant Other Isn’t on Board
If your significant other isn’t on board with creating a budget, you may not want to either. This is admittedly a difficult hurdle to overcome.
If you haven’t talked with your partner already, you should do so. Talk about your short-term and long-term financial goals, as well as what items you might feel it’s worth spending a little more money on. When you’re finished, you should ideally have a better idea of each other’s financial views.
After you’ve talked about finances with your partner, you might want to set some financial goals together. This is also a good time to bring up budgeting, since it will help both of you reach your shared financial goals.
Even if your partner doesn’t want to get on board with budgeting, you can still make one yourself. Figure out what you contribute to your household on a monthly basis, then create a personal budget that will cover your portion of the expenses. If nothing else, you’ll have more control over the money you earn, and you might even inspire your partner to create a budget after seeing what it does for you!
Get Help Creating a Budget at First Alliance Credit Union
Creating a budget isn’t easy, but once you work past the excuses and make one you’ll have taken an important first step towards financial success.
You can also get help creating your budget when you become a member of First Alliance Credit Union today. In addition to the tools mentioned in this blog, we have a beginner’s guide to creating a budget, as well as our award winning Good Money Moves podcast that has several episodes that discuss money management and budgeting.