While most people get the importance of budgeting, too many people fail to do so — for a myriad of reasons. However, as plausible as those reasons sound when we’re rationalizing the importance of budgeting away, their plausibility falls away when viewed in the harsh light of reality.
Let’s take a look at some of the excuses we all make to avoid budgeting.
1. It Takes Too Much Time
Granted, it does take some time to create a budget. You have to total up all of your income, gather your bills, compute your monthly expenses and figure out how much to allocate cover them, as well as savings, investments and the like.
Admittedly, that can take hours — maybe even a few days— to do.
However, you’re going to spend that time doing something anyway, right? Let’s say you go ahead and do it and it takes three days. When you’re done, you’ll be three days older with a budget to show for them. How much older will you be if you don’t?
2. Budgeting Doesn’t Work for Me
This one usually comes up after someone has put a bit of effort into creating a budget, followed it for a while, decided it was too draconian and dropped it. Or, they found keeping up with it was just too tedious. However, rather than budgets not working, the reality is the budgeting method they tried didn’t work.
This happens to most people because they get too strict and fail to allocate cash for fun stuff. Or, the tools they used to maintain it required too much effort. You have to leave yourself some room for enjoyment; otherwise the ensuing tedium will make budgeting feel like punishment, when the reality is it’s a benefit.
Meanwhile, a budget app like those offered by Clarity Money can make keeping up with the plan as easy as punching numbers into your phone when you make purchases.
3. My Income Is Too Small to Budget
Truth be told, it’s more important to budget a small income than a larger one. After all, if you don’t watch pennies, problems become dollar-sized in very short order.
Yes, creating a budget on a meager income will demonstrate firsthand how little money you have. However, it will also help you see how you can make that money go farther. In fact, you’ll find you’re doing better on a small income with a budget than without one.
4. Budgeting Creates Bad Feelings
Getting something you want incites a certain joy. The feeling of gratification we derive from it can be quite intoxicating — even addictive for some people.
Budgeting means you’ll have categories within which you must confine your spending. It also means you’ll have to deal with your obligations first — then use whatever’s left to get something you want.
If one is given to instant gratification, it can be difficult to see the long-term benefit. After all, budgeting sets you up for the future, while seemingly robbing you of pleasure today. This can be a tough one to get around. Leaving some room in your budget for frivolous spending, as we suggested above, can help with this.
Ultimately though, you’re going to have to work to change your perspective.
Right now, when you want to get something, you probably justify it by telling yourself you work hard and have next to no free time, but at least it feels great to be able to get whatever you want. However, if you let the excuses we all make to avoid budgeting govern your spending, the day will come when you’ll have lots of free time and no money with which to do anything you want.
And, that’s a whole lot worse.