There are lots of things you know perfectly well that you should do, but don't — from eating less junk food to getting more sleep. Making a budget is another biggie. But even though you know making a budget is a smart move, only about one in three people actually has one, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.
Why don't you have a budget? Probably because it's easier to come up with excuses than to make one. But once you finally move past those mental roadblocks, you can start moving toward financial security.
Here are some of the top excuses for not budgeting — and how to reframe your thinking.
Making a budget is boring
Creating a budget is about as fun as doing your taxes, there's no denying it. But dedicating even a few hours to setting realistic saving and spending goals will more than pay off by reducing your financial stress.
Instead of thinking of budgeting as a short-term drag, focus instead on the lasting benefits: "Creating a budget is really planning your future as you want it to be, what could be more fun and exciting than that?!?" Accessible Psychology noted.
Think how boring it will be if your friends all get to quit work in their 60s and jet around the world, while you're still stuck in a 9 to 5 job because your retirement savings wouldn't even pay for a trip down the block. Putting up with the minor drudgery of creating a budget helps ensure you have money for fun, both now and later.
Don't think of it as "budgeting," think of it as finding a way to pay for a kickass vacation, a cool new apartment and being able to have fun when you're old.
I'm too busy to track every dime I spend
Budgeting can be time-consuming at the beginning when you're first tracking expenses, setting up spending categories and doling out your income. But it doesn't have to take forever to create a budget, especially when you use free apps like Mint and Digit to automate the process.
Once you've figured out the basics, and get into the habit of tracking your spending, things go more quickly. Instead of constantly checking your bank balances to see if you have enough money or logging into your credit card account to make sure you haven't hit your limit, you'll know exactly where your money has been going and how much you have left to spend.
I don't make enough money to budget
If you feel like every dollar you make is going to necessities, you may wonder why even bothering budgeting. After all, you need to actually have money to figure out how to spend it.
The reality: "Budgeting is always applicable, regardless of the size of your income. If you only receive $10 per week, you will need to ensure that your funds will be used in the best possible way before you receive the next $10," Karen Y. Bryant explained in her book Budgeting... It's Not Just Dollars & Cents.
Making a budget can be even more important if your income is limited. When you don't have a ton of money, you need to be smarter about every dollar you do spend. Plus, not having a budget may be the reason you have nothing left over at the end of the month.
I'm bad at math
Budgets require you to look at a lot of numbers and do basic calculations. This can give you bad flashbacks to your high school math quizzes. Ugh.
Fortunately, you really don't need any math skills to make a budget. Budgeting apps do all the math for you. All you have to do is enter the numbers. If you link your checking and credit card accounts to the apps, you won't even have to enter many numbers either.
If you don't feel like keeping track of how much you've spent in each category once you have your budget set up, opt for the envelope method where you stick a set amount of cash into an envelope for each category of spending. You don't have to be good at math to see an envelope is getting low and know it's time to cut back on that category for the month.
I don't need to budget
Even if you're being responsible about your money, there's always room to do better. Plus, you may be overestimating how good you actually are at managing your money.
Let's say you make more than you spend and don't have any credit card debt. Great! Now is the perfect time to start socking money away for longer term goals like a down payment on a house or taking a year off to travel the world.
If you're already good at managing your money, making a budget should be easy and will help you plan for all the fun things you can do with all the money you've got leftover.
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