Why You Don’t Budget (and what to do about it)

Woman with her hand out saying 'no'

What’s holding you back from budgeting?

Everyone has their reason for starting a budget, as well as their reason for avoiding doing it. I personally started budgeting because I decided it was better than being broke and confused about my finances. It was one of the best choices I’ve made to date.

I think budgeting can change everyone’s lives and relationships with money for the better, but not everyone wants to budget. It’s your choice either way, but I want to support you in your journey if you want to learn to be a better money manager. So if you’re at least curious about budgeting but are struggling with getting started, let’s look at some reasons why.

You don’t think budgeting is worth your time

“I don’t think budgeting is effective, I’m doing fine enough as it is”.

You don’t see a point to budgeting money because you’ve never seen anyone’s life get better from budgeting. You’ve had friends cancel plans or suggest cheaper options because it “wasn’t in their budget”. Or you go out together and they order appetizers and soda. That’s not your idea of the good life. You can spend all the money you want of what you want and have enough left to spare. You aren’t broke, and you have no problem paying your bills. Therefore, you don’t think budgeting is very effective or useful. Why go through all that trouble to restrict yourself if you aren’t going to see any real results?

What you don’t see is that your friend has a plan. Your friend is spending what they have budgeted for entertainment, and they aren’t going to break that plan. Why? Because having an emergency savings account is more important to them than drinks at the club. They are focused on their long-term goals, not their short-term fun. Therefore, it’s nothing personal, but they aren’t interested.

Budgeting is like dieting. You have to set your goals, make your plan, and stick to it. You may not see a ton of results right away. You may have to deny yourself from some fun experiences along the way. But eventually you’ll see your efforts pay off, and you’ll be glad you put in the work.

You don’t care enough about money to make a budget

“There is more to life than money”.

You’ve decided to not spend your time worrying or focusing on money. You don’t want to take part in a system that hurts and disenfranchises people in the pursuit of profit. You’d rather help people and focus on the things that really matter to you.

You can still benefit from learning about money because you most likely live in a society where you have to depend on money to survive. You still have a job and need money to make ends meet. Therefore, understanding how to budget will help you manage the money you have so you can go back to focusing on the things that matter. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but you can lessen the impact of money on your life if you understand how it functions.

You’re worried your budget will show you something you don’t want to see

“I do not want to see how much I truly owe. I’d feel embarrassed and ashamed at the depth of my financial woes”.

You know you need to make changes with your finances, but you can’t bring yourself to get started. You know you won’t like what you see. You’ve been neglecting some of your bills and things may be past due. You don’t want to know how much you owe. Or you know you won’t like to see how little money you have left over after paying bills, because you wish there was more.

Money is a difficult topic for a lot of people. We sometimes develop values and habits around money that tell us we should be ashamed of where we are financially, or that we aren’t doing well enough in relation to other people. The problem is, those thoughts hold you back and keep you doing poorly. They are not your friend and they do not help you grow. If you choose to accept where you are financially, you can take action and begin to make changes. Your progress may be slow, but you will make progress. You will change your habits and your life. You just need to believe it can be done.

So why don’t you budget?

Some people don’t want to budget because they think it’s not worth their time, they don’t want to face the truth of their finances, or they don’t care enough about money. If there are other reasons why you/others don’t budget, let me know. I think it’s worth understanding your motivation for your choices either way, and doing what is truly best for you.

If you are ready to learn to budget, you’ll find the resources you need here at Let’s Make a Budget. Please reach out; I’m happy to help!

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