Being successful with personal finance isn’t easy. Without having a budget, it’s practically impossible. Even if you have a budget, it’s hard work and diligence, and takes constant management. However, the work pays off tenfold.
Most of us are uncomfortable with budgeting our money. We weren’t taught money management or how to make a financial plan for ourselves. Knowing how to do this a huge learning curve, and we mostly have to figure it out on our own. That’s a daunting task, one that most of us don’t want to approach.
But, you work hard for the dollars you receive. A budget will help squeeze every penny out of your dollar.
If you give your money a role, it will work for you and you’ll receive the most out of your hard earned cash.
So, why haven’t you started a budget yet? Here’s some common reasons:
“I don’t know how to budget”
Unless you’re a numbers nerd, budgeting is a mathematical skill that most of us would rather not tackle. I’m not a numbers person at all. Trying to add and subtract, to remember math formulas and having to be exact with all of it is extremely frustrating. I’d rather not even try.
Budgeting is really all about math. And that’s one of the problems. A lot of us hate math.
The cool thing about living now instead of twenty years ago, is there are multiple software programs that you can use to manage your money. They work in a similar manner, and each one has its own way of computing your dollars to work for you.
It takes some time to find a budgeting program that works for you. But the great thing is they let you test the program for free for an amount of time before purchasing the platform. This gives enough of a sample to see if it’s going to work for you or not.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you need to subscribe to (aka pay for) a program. Most people are averse to this. Why pay for something that makes you miserable?
But, I highly recommend investing in a budgeting program. It’s around the same price as a nice dinner for two (with drinks), and it will pay you back in the form of increasing your savings. The good programs have tech support and tons of resources, education and assistance for you to be successful.
I spent a long time…years… not looking at my money because I knew it was inadequate, not invested well, and not working for me. I was too overwhelmed to fix it. I had other things on my plate to deal with. So, I didn’t deal with it.
Then something changed. My life included a new person. I was getting to the age where I really needed to start thinking about the long term. I wanted to buy a house. So, I was forced to take a hard look at my financial situation instead of putting my head in the sand.
I slowly opened one eye and and peered into the mess, ready to shut it tight again and put my head under the blanket if I didn’t like what I saw.
I got familiar. I eased myself slowly into my money situation. It wasn’t the big bad monster I thought it was.
I even made an appointment with a financial advisor who worked at the company where my money is housed. She was great. She explained everything and made me see that life wasn’t so bad.
It was better to meet the issues head on. I wish I’d done it earlier.
“My partner and I always fight about money”
Ugh. Yeah, I get it. Money and kids are the biggest buttons for couples.
In this case, it’s also best to make an appointment with a financial expert. That person can get both of you on the same page (or at least in the same library), even if you have different styles for managing money. Usually one person is going to be more controlling, more savvy, or more opinionated than the other about money. It’s important to let that both of you share control and have a voice about the mutual finances.
Every one is different, and how money is divided and managed is as unique as each couple. You need to do what works for both of you. It’s a matter of being respectful, even where there’s differences of opinions. A financial mediator is a good start.
Remember, you’re on the same team.
“Having a ‘budget’ means depriving myself”
If you want to freely spend your money without thinking too hard about it, this might be why you are budget adverse. You don’t like the limits it places on you, and you may even rebel and go on a shopping spree just to show your budget a lesson or two.
But, if you do budgeting right, you won’t feel deprived. You can take care of the bills and take care of your personal needs with a good budget, and without neglecting one for the other.
In fact, a good budget can even make you feel freer! You can find where you’re wasting money and direct it towards the things you really care about. Yes, you can have more emotional satisfaction from a budget than without one.
If you start, create a spending plan. Create at least one inspiring life goal for yourself and start by setting aside money to achieve that goal.
A budget is not a fixed-in-stone concept. It is fluid. You can change it and continue to tweak your budget until it’s working for you. Life changes, and your budget must change with it.
When you see it like that, a budget is a desirable thing and not something to cringe about.
Look at it this way; You are the one in control and you can make your budget into anything that you want. You create your own priorities to make yourself thrive instead of being deprived.
Whatever your reason for not budgeting may be (and there’s many more reasons besides the ones here), it’s good to rethink this and see what you can do to change your outlook of your money management. If you even saved a day or an hour of your salary, you’ve placed yourself in a positive direction. And that extra cash can be the cushion you need for your future.
Cha-Ching Money Blog helps you manage your personal finances by giving you tips on changing your money mindset and lifestyle. Sign up for our newsletter for ongoing tips, stories and ideas on how to make your money work for you.