I recently did some random surveys, where I asked people questions about budgeting. Budgeting is a necessary evil but no one wants to do it and I couldn’t figure out why? Because it’s a very simple process. I even shared some simple steps in my post titled How To Create a Budget in 3 Easy Steps. So I said to myself, “when in doubt – ask.” So I asked people everywhere I come in contact with, friends and family, clients and social media connections, these three questions:
- What frustrates you about budgeting?
- What challenges do you face with budgeting?
- What would make budgeting easier?
I received a lot of different responses. One response was even “trying to get my husband on board.” I had to laughed at that one. Wouldn’t you know sometimes I have that same problem. So I asked around and the most common responses I got were: Not having enough money; Having to create the budget; and Sticking to the budget.
Well let me tell you that last one resonates with me in a big way. When I graduated college and started getting a real paycheck I moved out of my parents house within six months. And I haven’t been back yet! One of things I realized very quickly was I needed to make sure all my bills were paid before I could spend money on what I wanted to. I already knew I had a shopping problem. Big secret right? So I created a budget for each paycheck. I would budget six to eight months at a time so I would know when I would have the money to go holiday shopping or shopping for myself, on trips and even which months I could make lump sum payments to get out of debt. This little schedule was great . In fact, I still use it to this day.
As time went on, I could never figure out why I didn’t have enough money. Then I would get a new job with a higher salary but the same thing would happen. It was years before I realized that I was good at creating a budget but I sucked at following the budget.
So to help you avoid or to stop having the same problems I had, here are solutions to the top three responses.
- Not having enough money. This is a terrible excuse. You don’t have enough money because you don’t have a budget to begin with. You need to create a budget so that you can know where you need to spend money, including saving or paying yourself first. Whether you are getting paid $5,000 a week or $5,000 a month, you need to ensure that all your costs are covered. And if all your costs are not covered, that’s when you will know it’s time to ask for that raise or move on to other things. But my guess, you will be just fine when you see all of the unnecessary things you spend your hard earned dollars on. It’s just going to take a little self control.
- Having to create the budget. Not sure why people have such a hard time with this one. If you do, then you are definitely over thinking things. Here is the link again for How To Create a Budget in 3 Easy Steps. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing a budget for a business or for your household, the same rules apply. The only difference is for a household, you may not need to budget a full year. Six months will do just fine.
- Sticking to the budget. Now this I get. It’s the shiny toy syndrome. Every time you see something shiny and new you just have to have it, right? WRONG? You don’t need to be a walking model with all the hottest clothing trends. And you don’t need to buy a new cell phone every time they come out with a new version. You need to develop a system for tracking your costs. A system you can stick to. And try and make it fun. Enlist a friend, turn it into a game or reward yourself. When you have a prize waiting for you, you are more inclined to follow through.
Now it’s your turn. What frustrates you about budgeting? What challenges do you face with budgeting? What would make budgeting easier?
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