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Why Aren’t You Budgeting?

Published April 4, 2018 

man sitting in front of a sticker-covered laptop

By Jordan Ottaway

Happy Financial Literacy Month! How about we kick things off with a little budget talk?

Let’s be honest. Budgeting is the financial equivalent to going to the gym. We all want to do it, know the benefits of doing it, but can’t seem to get in the habit of doing it.

We tend to use excuses that keep us from going to the gym like saying we don’t have enough time, memberships are too expensive, or just not wanting to go. We say similar things when it comes to budgeting.

Today I’m going to talk about these common excuses and show you how you can overcome them and budget like a boss!

“I’m too busy.”

You can’t spare 30 minutes to an hour a month to make a budget? You can do it on a Saturday or Sunday evening. Trust me, you have the time.

Okay…it might take a little longer if you’re just getting started and have to get the hang of it, but once you’ve done it 2 or 3 months in a row, you’ll know what to do. Making a budget might sound boring, but saving thousands of dollars each year and reduce the stress of not knowing where your money is going to make up for it.

Take that time.

“I already keep track of my spending.”

Please don’t finish that sentence with “in my head” because that’s a recipe for disaster. If you “track” your spending in your own head, chances are you’re not really keeping up with it.

However, keeping track of your spending is a great start because it shows that you want to put in the effort to develop a good habit. The problem is that people usually do it at the end of the month showing what they’ve done in the past. I track my spending, but I like to start at the beginning of the month so I’m being proactive instead of reactive.

This allows you to plan in advance and stay on top of where your money is going to minimize any damage you might do to your finances.

“I don’t have a set income.”

I can understand this because it is harder when you work an hourly job and each paycheck is different. But don’t let this stop you from making a budget. In fact, it’s even more important to budget when your earnings are constantly changing.

Start by figuring out what your key expenses are for each month and put that money aside first. Then see if any other expenses can be reduced or eliminated. You’ll start to see that it’s easier to cover all of your bills and make ends meet when you have a run of difficult clients or terrible tippers.

“I’m bad at math.”

I am too. Why do you think I became a writer? If I can do it, you can too.

There are multiple budgeting platforms that don’t require you to do any math at all. How great is that? All you do is put in your monthly expenses and pay and let the program take care of the rest. You will instantly see how your money is allocated and whether or not you have enough to cover it all.

From there you can easily edit your budget each month to really maximize your savings and keep your sanity. See, it is possible to budget even though you hate math.

“I don’t have money left over to budget.”

You don’t? You know what could have helped that? A budget. Good thing this article has some good tips to help you make a solid budget so you DO have money left to budget.

Warren Buffett once said, “Don’t save what is left after spending. But spend what is left after saving.” A budget does wonders and is the first step to reaching your financial goals.

We’ll be talking financial literacy all month, so be sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss out. Let’s get going!

Headshot of Jordan Ottaway
Jordan Ottaway contributed to the Neighborhood Credit Union blog from 2016 - 2019.