Having spent the last 10 years teaching people how to manage their money, I’ve certainly heard a lot of reasons why people don’t do a budget.
Creating a budget is one of the most basic things that I teach and the cornerstone of any good financial plan.
But for people who are missing this crucial financial tool, their finances often feel overwhelming or out of control.
If that sounds like you, I’ll bet one of these top 5 reasons people don’t do a budget is your reason too.
1. I Hate Math
Guess what? So do I.
Sometimes I wish I was born as one of those genius math nerds who love numbers and calculators and solving for X.
But I’m not.
Math, even really basic math, isn’t fun for me.
A lot of people avoid budgets simply because doing math is annoying, and I totally get it.
But here’s the deal, there are lots of annoying things we have to put up with as adults.
Have you ever tried being broke, buried in debt, and struggling to pay your bills? That’s pretty annoying too.
Sometimes, as mature adults, we have to recognize how fortunate we are that we get to pick which annoying things we want to deal with.
Doing a budget, and the simple math associated with it, may not be super exciting or fun, but it definitely leads to things that are.
I really enjoy having a bunch of money in my savings account for emergencies.
I really enjoy having the financial freedom to travel the world with my family.
If doing a budget, and doing math, are the tools that allow me to do those things, I’ll pick the annoying budget all day long.
2. Budgets Require Saying No.
Sometimes budgets are hard not because we are incapable of doing basic math, but because they require us to use a word that scares the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness right out of us.
That word is NO.
No has become an incredibly toxic word in our culture.
We’re practically raised from infancy to believe…
- Only poor people have to say no.
- Only uneducated people have to say no.
- Only unsuccessful people have to say no.
- Smart, educated, successful people get to say YES, all the time, to everything because they are so awesome!
Anyone who says yes to everything all the time is destined for ruin.
Smart people learn to say no…a lot.
A budget teaches us that saying No today gives us the opportunity to say Yes to even more wonderful things in the future.
A budget isn’t about being restricted. It’s about saying yes to the right things.
Anyone who has trouble saying no to themselves will always struggle to make good money decisions.
3. I Don’t Have Time to Do a Budget
Not enough time is another popular reason people give for not doing a budget.
The funny thing is, the last time I checked, we all have the same amount of time in a day.
The people who do budgets aren’t granted a bucket of extra minutes from the time gods that the rest of us are missing out on.
So why do some people have time to manage their money and others don’t?
The truth is, like money, time is something we all spend – and where we spend it matters.
We can choose to spend 30 minutes watching TV, or playing a video game, or scrolling through social media, or texting friends, or watching YouTube, or taking the perfect selfie.
But then we don’t get to say, “I don’t have time to make a plan for my money.”
Instead, we need to say, “I choose to spend my time doing other things that are significantly less important than making a plan for my money.”1
That’s a hard truth for many people to internalize.
We only have so many minutes in the day, and how we spend them matters.
Too many of us choose to spend them on frivolous things that won’t matter in 5 years (or 5 minutes) instead of doing things that can truly change the course of our entire lives.
Creating a budget does take time, but it is an infinitely more valuable way to spend our time than so many other things we do on a daily basis.
We simply have to chose to spend our time differently.
4. Budgets Just Cause Fights
This is actually one of the more legit reasons I hear.
In a relationship, money is a team sport.
But when those team meetings keep devolving into bickering, blaming and shouting, no wonder couples give up on trying to manage their money together.
But money fights are actually an indicator of something deeper, yet often our money talks are only surface level.
- You spend too much money on X.
- I can’t believe you bought Y.
- If you would just stop Z then we would have enough money for…whatever comes after the letter Z.
These conversations don’t get to the real money issues lurking below.
But it is possible for two people to learn how to work together to manage their money well instead of playing every man, woman, and child for themself.
If this is one of your big reasons for not doing a budget, go check out How to Stop Fighting Over Money and learn how to play the game differently.
5. I’m Doing Just Fine Without a Budget
It probably won’t surprise you that many people think they are doing just fine financially, so why start doing a budget?
I don’t know the intimate financial details of everyone who uses this excuse, so I can’t say they are all wrong.
Sometimes two frugal nerds get married and they just love naturally saving money all over the place. Good for them!
But I do know there are a lot of people out there whose definition of “financially fine” is pretty suspect.
If you’re two paychecks or less away from not being able to pay your bills, you are not financially fine.
If your mortgage payment is causing you to put all your other expenses on your credit card to cover you month-to-month, you are not financially fine.
If your car payment is dictating how much you can spend on groceries, you are not financially fine.
This excuse is the golden child of people who generally make really good money, but they are essentially spending all of it and more.
But the fact that they live in a nice house, drive a nice car, go on nice vacations, wear nice clothes, and eat at all the nice restaurants has them convinced that they are financially fine, even if they are living on the brink of a financial nightmare.
For these folks, doing a budget is likely going to be a very unwelcome wake-up call, exposing some pretty bad habits and some financial skeletons in the closet.
I admit that it’s easier to keep believing the lie, avoid doing a budget, and just hoping that everything works out.
But it won’t.
Choosing to do the hard thing today is better than hoping to do the easy thing tomorrow.
Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?
Maybe you’re ready to take control of your money and stop living in fear that your spending is out of control.
If you want a blueprint for how to start spending your money wisely and start saving money using a budget that actually works, then you’re in luck.
Next week I’m releasing a brand new 3-part tutorial on How to Do A Budget.
In it, I’ll teach you everything you need to know to successfully create a budget, prioritize your spending, and create savings patterns to achieve your financial goals.
There are a lot of things you can spend your time learning this year, but I promise you that learning to do a budget is a change that will dramatically impact the rest of your life.
Subscribe today and be one of the first to get access to my new How To Do A Budget tutorial next week.
Featured image photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash