Can you guess what it is? If you guessed 59% do not have a monthly budget – you would be right! Wait! Wait! Keep reading! I promise this isn’t another boring budget article stating random statistics about why you should budget. Let’s go over the common misconceptions of a budget to create a believer out of you. It won’t hurt – I promise.
I feel it’s necessary to revisit my previous budget article, Budget Isn’t A Bad Word if you need guidance to set one up. I know several couples who are successful, not in debt, and also do not have a budget. They invest a bit and pay off their bills all without a budget. From the outside in, they are doing pretty well compared to other people. But how well are they doing compared to those with budgets? Here’s your one statistic for the day, only 41% of American’s use a budget even though it’s your strongest and most effective way to keep track of your finances!¹
Budgets are not only for people with massive amounts of debt. According to the book, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, even millionaires follow budgets. That is how they are able to stay millionaires!
If you are in debt or if you are able to cover your bills, I encourage you to do a budget. I’m assuming many of you still have not committed the time to start and maintain a budget for a myriad of reasons. See below for a few reasons budgets are neglected as well as my related article, Your reason for living…
Common Reasons Budgets Are Neglected
1. It takes too much time
Yes it is true, budgets take time. The vast amount of time is front loaded, meaning the first couple of months may take quite a bit of time but the months thereafter are much more painless. Our monthly budget takes about 20 minutes to tweak and examine each month. In the grand scheme of things, with the amount of money we save with a budget, it is worth that time in gold.
2. Afraid of what is behind the curtain
You are absolutely correct, the truth is scary! How close are you to having all the wheels come off – or have they already? I promise, whatever situation you are in, there is a way out of it. Some of you have holes deeper than others but your hole has a bottom. It’s time to stop digging deeper. You can start making forward progress today – if you want to. Please make that decision for yourself and your family – you work too hard to be this broke.
3. Budgets mean I can’t enjoy life
This is the biggest budget lie there is!! I will be frank with you – my personal fun money is $80 a month. The last person I told that to looked at me like I was insane. Sure, I could budget more than $80 dollars for myself, but I have changed my hobbies and habits to include activities that cost less, or no money at all. I’m no less happy than when I didn’t have a budget and spent more on entertainment – in fact I’m much more happy knowing I’m moving forward towards my financial goals.
What do I do for fun with that $80 a month? As stated in my earlier articles, food is my vice. My money is usually spent at restaurants – oh and this blog which costs me $6.75 a month 🙂 The rest of my time is spent going to my daughters swim practice/meets and my boys soccer practice and games. We have “Friday Movie Night” (at home with the DVD player) and do other fun things around the house. My kids will soon be riding their bikes when it cools down and we play video games once in a while. My life is very busy and it doesn’t involve much money! If you have something truly valuable in your life that you need – budget it in! Budget can restrict you – yes, but they can also free you. By finding out where all your money goes by constructing a budget, you can see where the waste is and shift that money towards more meaningful things in your life!
Bullet Point Budget Benefits
- Budgets give you control over your finances rather than your finances controlling you
- Budgets keep your plan in place to achieve your financial goals
- Budgets make it clear to you where your money is, and where it is going
- Budgets give you a way to build up your emergency fund so unexpected bills/events don’t take you by surprise
- Need I say more?
Bite the bullet and start that budget! If you try it for a couple of months and it doesn’t work for you, scrap it and go back to managing your finances your way. I’m willing to bet you keep the budget after you see what it can do for you – give it a try – you have nothing to lose!
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Do you have a monthly budget? Why or why not? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t signed up to receive future articles by email, please add yourself at the bottom of this page. If you have topics you would like future blogs about, let me know and I will add them to the agenda. Stay safe my friends -you work too hard to be this broke!