Are you bad at budgeting? Like, so bad it feels like you might as well just give up and live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of your life? I’ve been there!
I pretty much gave up on my budget this summer, and thinking back I’ve realized that I was SO bad at budgeting partly because I was buying into some budgeting lies.
If you’re struggling to stick to your budget too, it’s possible you unknowingly believe some of the same budgeting myths that I did.
So, today I’m here to let you know about some of these lies. If you can acknowledge your false money beliefs, you’ll be better prepared to move past them and take control of your finances!
Are These 4 Lies Making You Bad at Budgeting?
Lie #1: Budgeting Is Too Stressful
One major reason I stopped budgeting this summer is that I felt stressed out just thinking about budgeting.
I knew my income would be lower in the summer, and we really needed to buckle down, but every time I thought about that I just wanted to curl into a ball. So I stopped budgeting.
My theory was that I would be more relaxed when I stopped thinking about tracking spending etc.
Boy was I WRONG!
This summer I thought about money all the time. Turns out paying for stuff every day and having to check my accounts was a constant reminder that I was NOT budgeting. And it gave me STRESS!
Now that I’m back to budgeting, I feel less stress, knowing that I am in control of my money.
Unfortunately (since I’m not filthy rich) I think it’s impossible to feel absolutely no anxiety about money. However, when I budget, it makes my money worries WAY better.
Lie #2: I’m Too Busy to Budget
This summer I also convinced myself that I just didn’t have time to budget. We went on a few trips, and that stressed me out a bit too, so I said to myself — who has time to track spending?! Not me!
As I think back on those trips, the problem wasn’t not having enough time; I just didn’t want to make budgeting a priority.
Because my budget is all set up, all I have to do weekly is enter my spending and see how I’m doing. Budgeting only takes me half an hour to forty minutes each week, and I easily spent that much time (or more) watching TV.
Now that I’m budgeting again, I have a chosen day and time each week where I sit down, track spending, and evaluate how my household is doing with our budget. When it’s just part of my routine, it’s a lot easier.
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- Are You Using the Right Budget? 6 Alternatives That Might Be Better
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Lie #3: I Can Keep Track of My Finances in My Head
Another lie I told myself this summer was that I could just keep track of our money in my head. Buuuuut, can you guess what happened? I was NOT able to keep track of our finances in my mind.
I’ve found that when I don’t have the official ‘here’s what you’ve spent’ numbers in front of me, it’s easy for me to justify purchasing too many things.
However, if I have my budget numbers in front of me, or if I’ve looked at them recently, I KNOW what we can and cannot afford, and I have an easier time making good money choices.
Now I’m back to tracking transactions, and it works way better than ‘keeping track of the budget in my head,’ because — let’s be honest — that didn’t work at all.
Lie #4: I Can’t Stick to My Budget PERFECTLY So I Should Give Up on Budgeting
This summer I also gave up on budgeting because I got discouraged when I knew I was over-budget, and I just threw in the towel.
Now I know that I won’t always be able to make the budget work perfectly because life gets in the way, but, instead of giving up when I go over-budget, I can work to find a solution.
Wondering what some of those solutions are for times when you go over budget? Check out the short list below:
1. Find Money in Another Category.
If you go over-budget only in a specific budget category, look at other categories in your budget to see if you have ‘leftover money’ anywhere to cover your splurge. If you do have ‘extra money’ somewhere, move that money over to the category where you overspent, and record that you’ve moved those funds.
2. Pull Out All the Stops
If you have no ‘leftover money’ and you go over your monthly budget, then it’s time to call bill providers, sell your stuff, start eating beans and rice and do anything you can to get enough money to cover essentials.
These methods for dealing with overspending might feel crummy, but they’re also good motivation NOT to overspend again.
*Note: If I’m honest, I’ve been known to put my over-spending on credit in tough times; that is NOT a great way to deal with going over-budget though. It builds debt and it takes away your financial freedom. Do everything you can to avoid putting that overspending on credit.
Kick Budgeting Myths to the Curb
If you’re bad at budgeting and you don’t know why, take some time to look inward and see if you’re buying into budgeting myths.
The truth is, budgeting can give you more control over your finances, and greater peace in your life — it’s totally worth the work.
So take some time today to recognize your false beliefs about budgeting, and stop letting them hold you back.