Making a monthly budget for your money before you spend it is a habit I’ve been recommending for years, and I’ll keep recommending budgeting until everybody gets it.
In today’s post, I’ll cover the most common excuses for not budgeting, and how to overcome them. I'll also give you a ton of resources at the end to help get you moving in the right direction.
A Budget Is An Awesome Tool
Consistently making a budget is the #1 action you can take to start getting your finances under control so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck and never spend more than you make.
But no matter how much I say about what an awesome tool budgeting is for getting control of your finances, I still hear plenty of excuses from people about why they can’t, or won’t, do a budget.
The Top 5 Excuses For Not Budgeting
So I decided to make a list of the top five excuses that I hear for not doing a monthly budget, and how you can overcome each one to start getting control of your finances for good.
1. Budgeting is Boring
Ok, I know budgeting is not sexy, cool, or even the highlight of your day, I get it. But what’s better, being frustrated financially and letting your money leaks drain away your paycheck; or being proactive and exercising total control over your finances?
Total control sounds like a lot more fun to me! Get over the “boring” excuse and show some interest in keeping your finances running smoothly.
2. I Don’t Need to Write It Down
If you’re one of those people who says you can keep track of everything in your head, then you’re deceiving yourself. Unless you’re the “Rain Man”, then you only have a general idea of where your money is going. A solid, zero based budget shows you how to spend your money on paper before you spend it in the real world.
3. I Hate Math
Dude, it’s just simple addition and subtraction! I’ve heard it said hundreds of times that budgeting is just 6th grade math. That’s a lie! My wife Angie is a 6th grade math teacher, and 6th grade math is much more complicated; It’s more like 2nd or 3rd grade math! I know making a budget probably isn't your idea of fun, but it's not Newtonian Physics. Don’t let this lame excuse keep you in debt and stressed about money for years because you’re not a “math person”.
Overcome the fear, use a calculator, and learn to get your finances on track for good!
4. I Keep Track of My Spending
That’s great! Keeping track of your spending is a good start. It shows that you’re willing to take the time to develop a regular habit. However, the problem with keeping track of your spending is that it only shows what you've done in the past. A good zero based budget, done at the beginning of the month, before you spend the money, allows you to be proactive instead of reactive. It provides direction on how to spend your money instead of showing you how it got spent.
Planning your spending in advance, using a budget, is always better than figuring out what you spent in the past, after potential damage may have already been done.
5. I Don’t Have Time
Really? You can spare 30 minutes a month? C’mon! It’s true that it takes longer when you first get started budgeting because you’re doing something new and it takes time to get the hang of it. But after you’ve done it 2-3 months in a row, you get to be a pro at it. After that, it won’t take more than 30 minutes or so.
Seriously, you can spare 30 minutes a month if it means saving literally tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, and reducing the stress of not knowing where all your money is going.
Take the time.
What I’ve Learned From Making Excuses
I know from personal experience what it’s like to make excuses when I need to change something in my life. Angie and I spent a lot of years languishing financially because we didn’t make the effort to take those first steps.
What I’ve learned is this: starting anything is a lot easier the more you do it. I’ve gotten out of the habit of making excuses. I’ve learned to just dive in head first much more quickly than I once did.
I still have my momentary lapses with excuse making, but now I recognize the excuses and eliminate them, then take action instead of procrastinating.
Dive In Head First!
Look, there are a lot of excuses for not making a budget and learning to be proactive about your financial situation. These are just the top five. If you don’t really want to start solving your financial challenges, you’ll find plenty of reasons not to do it.
If you do want to change, you’ll get past all the lame excuses and dive in head first.
Action is what gets stuff done!
Here’s Everything You Need
I’ve written extensively on budgeting in the past, and have plenty of resources available to get you started. Most are free, and a couple are paid, but if you want to get control of your finances instead of letting them control you, here’s the best place to get started:
Free Resources- Blog Posts
Book: “Balance: The Quick and Easy Guide to Financial Stability Using a Budget” by Dr. Jason Cabler- Learn more here.
Course: The Celebrating Financial Freedom get out of debt course. An online video course that teaches everything you need to know to get out of debt and stay out, using common sense and Christian principles. Learn more here