If the B word causes you major anxiety and you just feel like you try and try and budgeting doesn’t work, this is for you. Maybe you feel like you just suck at budgeting or no method works for you. After going through the reasons I talk about in this post, you will have action steps to take so you can get better at creating a budget. Budgeting is a skill. It takes time to create a budget that works for you. So maybe you suck at budgeting right now, but we can change that.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a budget? It is simply just a plan for your money. The best part is YOU get to tell your money where to go. Yes, you will need to put some to debt (if you have any) and of course savings. But you also can allocate money for spending on things you love.
So why do you suck at budgeting? Let’s dive in
1. You aren’t making budgeting a priority
If you’re just starting out or you don’t have a budget you’re actually sticking to, you’re going to literally have to force yourself to budget. I mean, let’s say you have 1 hour of free time on a Saturday you aren’t going to naturally choose to create your budget. You have to just make yourself do it.
If you have to add a calendar reminder to your phone just to remember, do it. You pretty much have to force yourself until it becomes a habit. Listen, budgeting won’t always be time consuming. It takes me around 10 minutes a week to update my budget but it wasn’t always like that. You have to build healthy habits to give you confidence over your money goals just like in training for a marathon or losing weight. Take the time to sit down and work on your budget. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
2. You don’t know your numbers
Do you feel nervous when you think about doing a money audit? You think you know where your money is going but you don’t REALLLYY know where your money is going? Your budget won’t work based on what some social media person says you should be spending on groceries. You need to know where every dollar is going right now. You also need to know how much debt you have and how much you have saved. Sit down and write where your money is going. These numbers will help you to make a budget that is realistic and that you can stick with through the month. Remember this is about you, not about an IG influencer and what they spend money on. Really take the time to work through this.
3. You tried one method and gave up
It takes TIME and a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Just because one template or one method didn’t work, doesn’t mean nothing will. Start simple and work from there. Budgeting is not one size fits all, no matter what others say. It has to fit you and your life. Ready for more help with your budget? Join Flourish FinanciALLI and I will personally review your budget each month and send you feedback for how to make it better.
4. You have way too many budget categories
If your budget currently has 30+ categories that is so overwhelming and no wonder you hate it. I would hate it too. Keep it simple and expand when needed. Make categories based on what your needs are now. You don’t have to have a sinking fund for everyone’s birthday. Try to scale back and do the basics first. Group some things together if needed.
5. You’re not factoring in unexpected expenses
Maybe you didn’t factor in paying property taxes or a kid’s travel ball fees. Create a year overview tracker (or get the template in Flourish FinanciALLI) that lists these types of expenses for the year at a glance. Then if you can’t cash flow all of them, create sinking funds for the bigger ones. Also if you do a year overview tracker you can spread out expenses so they are less overwhelming. Think about annual doctor’s appointments, vet visits, registrations, birthdays, anniversaries, trips, or anything else that usually surprises you.
6. You don’t keep it somewhere you will actually check it
Did you make a budget on the computer but you rarely use the computer so it never gets looked at? Maybe you jotted down on a scrap piece of paper and now it’s gone. A budget is literally useless unless you actually check it. I don’t mean check it once a month but once a week. You should be budgeting per paycheck. If you hate excel, don’t create your budget in excel. You can budget per paycheck using pen/paper too. If you are budgeting with a partner, you also need to make sure your budget is accessible to both of you.
7. You don’t have any fun money in your budget.
It sucks to make a budget and feel that you can’t even afford to go out to dinner one time a week. That’s not fun and you probably won’t stick to it. Deprivation isn’t the answer. It might work for a month (or maybe a few) but it won’t work long-term. You’ll also be miserable and life is too dang short to miserable. We also don’t want you going from one extreme to the other. Deprivation often leads to impulse purchases. Make sure you have at least a little fun money in your budget each month. If you know that you like to have your coffee in the morning on the go, budget for it even just once a week. If you know you have so much to do after work every Thursday, budget for takeout. A budget is only restrictive if you make it restrictive.
Budgeting can suck but it doesn’t have to. I truly enjoy budgeting. I know you might be rolling your eyes right now but it is so great to feel excited about where your money is going and get closer to your goals. I mean I hate paying bills and wish I could keep all of my income but I love to see my sinking funds grow and investments grow. I also love to spend money on things I value (hello gamecock football club seats). If you’re not sure where the heck to start, start with my completely free course.
If you know you’re ready for more and want to skip the free course, fill out this short application to work with me and I will tell you which of my programs is best for you.