Remember when I said I won’t be listing any absolutes on this blog? Well, either I lied or you misunderstood, and I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. There are a few exceptions to that rule. The first one is that you need a budget, because budgets are sexy. Why? Well, sit back while I ramble.
Budgeting is so simple, but it has the potential have one of the greatest impacts on your financial well-being in the long run. There are many reasons people don’t budget, but here are some of the top ones I’ve heard:
I don’t need one. If you are in a situation where you spend like you want and still have money leftover to save, hooray for you! You are truly blessed. But the purpose of this blog isn’t to help you be mediocre, it’s to be a champion! So even if you still have some leftover, think of how much more you could save, whether it’s to invest or for a big vacation! A budget is about managing and tracking your money; that means you are in control. And remember, you’re the one setting the limits, so don’t think that just because you’re budgeting, you have to eat rice and beans. Do what you want, but be in control and I promise you’ll find new ways to save money for awesome things.
Don’t know how to create one. Of course you don’t, you’ve never done it before. But that didn’t stop you from learning how to tie your shoe, which is arguably your best defense from tripping in a crowd and becoming a trampling victim. If you really don’t want to spend the time to create your own, there are plenty of tools you can find online, such as Mint, Quicken, You Need a Budget, Moneydance, etc. Or you can hop on over to my almost completely empty Templates page to find the spreadsheet I use. I’ve also included a how-to page for those whose Excel skillz are about as good as my dancing skillz. If none of that feels comfortable, create your own. Create one for each month and be as specific as possible. It may take time, but you’ll get the hang of it and it will become easier.
It’s too time-consuming or complicated. It isn’t, really. Especially if you use budgeting software. But even if you use my spreadsheet, the spreadsheet does a lot of the calculating for you once you enter the info in. I usually spend about 10 minutes a week updating it and maybe 30 minutes at the end of the month to review the month with my gorgeous wife and set up next month’s. It might take you longer when you start up, but I believe in you! And if you think about it, you could save yourself literally hundreds of dollars each month by keeping track of where your money goes. For an extra 1-2 hours a month? That’s some serious dollarage per hour, holmes.
I don’t want to feel controlled. In a perfect world, we would all run around meadows in loincloths, doing what we please whenever we please. This would be awesome. But when you’re creating a budget, you’re the one setting the budget. You’re not trying to restrict yourself, you’re just trying to be more responsible.
Budgeting doesn’t work. If you’ve tried to budget and you just can’t seem to rein yourself in to keep it, it isn’t a budget problem. It’s a behavioral problem. If this is the case, you may need Señor Ramsey’s envelope budgeting technique.
I can go on and on about my love affair with budgeting. It’s essential to your financial plan; at least if you want it to be like this:
It frees up so much for future planning, but not just retirement. That’s important, but what else are you passionate about? What else is important to you? Budgeting can take you on that magic carpet ride. Start budgeting, friends, and be prepared for a whole new world! One day you’ll thank me when you realize that budgets are sexy. Totally 🙂