Top 3 Reasons why a budget sucks

Not hearing about budgets

A Budget Is Not For Everyone

Not everyone thinks a budget sucks, in fact we love using a budget but I don’t think a budget is right for everyone. If you are working too much or have too much pressure at work the last thing you want to do is count your dollars when you get home. Funny though, that task is now viewed by myself as a positive in my life rather than a task I “must do” in order to build our net worth. If you know me then you know there will be motivation in this post especially if you are someone who wants to take steps towards a debt free lifestyle.

Looking back

Some people say ‘I never look back’ but I do for certain things in my life, especially if it’s to learn from an experience. There comes a time when you have to realize that you just can’t change someone. If they don’t want to use a budget, they won’t full-stop.

When I was on my own and bought my first home at age 21 I can tell you that budgeting wasn’t for me. Looking back it was probably because I wouldn’t have invested the time needed, simply because I didn’t know any better. I worked long hours and I picked up every overtime shift I could which included holidays to get double or triple pay.

I was more interested in making money rather than spending it so why on earth would I need to budget it. That and I was too damn tired to do anything else. Sometimes working too much can drain the rest of your life away.

I probably should have slapped myself a couple of times because I really had no control over my finances, although I believed I did. Most people do believe they have control of their finances and don’t want anything to do with a budget. My sister is a great example because she loves to shop but you won’t catch her with a budget, no way even though she has more debt than she could ever handle.

She knows about money since our parents taught us about money from a young age but she chooses not to listen. This is why a budget might suck for some people. No matter what you say or do you won’t be able to change what they think if they don’t want to change themselves. Some people actually do love budgets like us but many people don’t and in some cases this can attribute to a high debt load if the finances aren’t controlled in some other fashion.

When you don’t know where the money is going and how much of it is being saved and spent then it’s hard to keep track. Even if you aren’t a budget advocate you could easily track numbers in a way that benefits you so that you don’t spend more than you earn. There are some smart, organized people out there that can do that, but that’s not me. I like to see every dollar that’s going in and out plus keeping record of it all in our Canadian Budget Binder spreadsheet.

Not for you

Budgeting is not just for low-income earners either which we talked about here the other day. I even have people who don’t think they can budget because they don’t make enough money to pay the bills. These negative mindsets are what set you apart from trying something and not doing anything at all.

Budgets are for everyone but not everyone is cut out to use a budget. Really, is there a point to setting up a budget if you have absolutely no drive to use it? Probably not. Often we will hear of people on the brink of losing their house, going bankrupt or flat-out broke and in debt sometimes over $100,000 in debt like Tony was and then they decide to give budgeting a try as a last resort before the inevitable happens.

I have friends now that earn good money and take good care of their finances but they don’t budget. They don’t have that urge to know where they spend every dollar each month unlike us who want to know how we are spending our money so we can base or financial decisions from the data we collect. We learned from budgeting that we were spending way too much money on grocery shopping and that’s why I started the grocery game challenge.

I think if someone is hesitant about starting to budget what I would recommend is to start with a mock budget, or a trial budget including only one category. Once you get the hang of it I bet you will want to start tracking more than the grocery budget. Now you know my hidden agenda behind the grocery game and I hope I can inspire others to do just that, take the first step.

Ideally taking the grocery budget would be optimal because everyone has to eat, food is love and most people enjoy being in the kitchen. It’s easier to start with something where the end result is satisfying and fulfilling unlike, say, your utility bills. So when should you say, budgeting might not be for you? Bellow are a few reasons why a budget sucks for some people that I’ve come up with since starting this blog and getting feedback from the fans.

3 Reasons why a budget might suck for you

You tried It

Sometimes people give a budget a try and numerous attempts at it fail so they get discouraged. If you start something with the wrong attitude, you will likely fail. Some people feel a budget is too much work but hard work is what gets people to the top. Nothing in life is easy and besides over time a budget becomes easy.

Some people give up and never want to budget again. If I might add a suggestion it would be to never give up. If you don’t find a budget that works for you, keep looking or create an excel budget spreadsheet like we did which has worked great for us the past 2 years. Sure we have had to make modifications and time to input data but it suits our needs well.

Don’t want it

Then there are the people who flat-out refuse to budget for one reason or another. The most common thread I hear is that budgeting is for people who are in debt or have no money. You know as well as me that it’s bull but that makes them feel better about where they are financially. I know in a subtle way I might have thought that when I was younger. Looking back all I needed was some education and maybe that would have sparked some interest. If we just share our knowledge and experiences with each other it may just inspire others to try.

It reminds me of someone who has no desire to try anything new in life. They are comfortable where they are at and don’t feel they need any change in their life. If you don’t try something how do you know if you will like it? Even if you know the premise behind a budget it doesn’t mean it won’t work wonders for you. Look what it did for Jen and Ken, it changed their lives as it has ours.

No need for it

Some people have a handle on their finances and simply have no need for a budget. If you pay your bills on time, know where your money is going and are happy with that then a budget might not work for you. There are also people who simply have too much money and don’t need to budget from their perspective since they feel they will never run the well dry.

Doesn’t that sound like a rotten place to be in? Sad part, look at all the Hollywood stars who likely have that mindset who are broke, can’t pay taxes on their homes and go bankrupt. Just because you have lots of money doesn’t mean you know how to manage it well. If you plan to go this route you still need to be smart with your cash.

There will always be people out there that think a budget sucks and it’s not for them. That’s fine though because if you have someone who is dead set against something it will never work. You have to want something bad enough that you can taste it. If your goal is to reach financial independence and you want to budget your way down that path, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Dream big, dream loud and bring your dreams to life.

Do you think budgets suck? Why or why not?  

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. I love budgeting! In fact, find it so empowering as I know where our money is going. Moreover, by using a budget I feel richer for it. In fact, I believing maintaining a budget allows me to be a SAHM of two children, we eat healthy, have clothes on our backs, go on family trips and can even help those in need..I would love to help everyone create a budget so that they may be able to see the difference it can make. However as your blog says…budgets do suck for some people out there. Cheers!

  2. Mary F Campbell says:

    I am a big lover of our budget!

    Do I wish like most people that I had more pennies to play with… well sure! Don’t we all?

    My favorite part of our budget is that when a bill comes in, we have the money to pay it. If an emergency crops up, we can handle it at least in the short term. We can also have dreams, save for them and eventually fulfill them… be it to purchase a new pair of shoes, a piece of furniture, replacing a vehicle or computer system or simply vacationing. We get there eventually. Without a budget, without saving up… they are just pipe dreams for us as we certainly don’t live the lifestyle of the rich and famous but I LIKE to know a vacation is coming…maybe not tomorrow but it is coming.

    I have to admit when I was young, I was guilty of vacationing courtesy of my credit card and then suffering through the repayments after I got back. It sucks all the pleasure out of the vacation just gone by in my opinion. :-( I eventually grabbed hold of myself and turned things around by saving for my vacation BEFORE I left town. Like Mr CBB said in a recent article he wrote, I like to have a financial cushion available. What if something amazing but unexpected presents itself on my vacation… I want to know I can enjoy the perk and still come home debt free. :-)

    We are currently looking forward to a couple of weeks in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson. We have the accommodation and airfare pre-paid PLUS I have the cash already saved up for our car rental and meals. It lets me anticipate the vacation joyfully, not fearing how I will pay for it!

    Do we go hog wild on vacation? No. I like to take my frugal ways with me so that I end up with a little left in the vacation savings account when we get home – so we can immediately start to dream, save and plan for the next adventure. :-D

  3. Christina says:

    For me the budget has become a life-saver. Things are really tight right now (for a long list of reasons that I don’t really want to talk about) but knowing we have a budget in place has given me a lot of peace of mind. it helps to know what is needs vs. wants and where we can cut back.

  4. Budgeting for me is a love/hate thing and it reminds me of strength training. I love the “results” of strength training but I don’t love the “process.” It can be a drag, but if I do it…and consistently, I’m happy I did it in the long run because I see positive results.

  5. I love budgets! mostly because they let me manage my limited amount of money in an easy way!

  6. Before I started a budget, I just spend money on whatever I wanted. I saved over $800 with a budget and some minor changes like eating dinner at home and bringing lunch.

  7. I have a love/hate relationship with budgeting. Like others, I love that when an emergency pops up I usually have the money to deal with it. Sometimes, I still need to use that blasted credit card to pay it, but I power pay it off. Like others would I like more $$ YES! YES! YES! But, with my business, I need to spend money to make more money. And sometimes I have to wait……..
    I think the saying goes Lord grant me patience, but darn it, give it to me now!!!!! lol
    I look at debt like “the enemy”, it’s the one thing preventing me from retiring. Hubby has a good pension, but because of debt, I can’t retire. We should be debt free with in 5 years, make that WILL be debt free, then I can retire and I won’t be 60. So, I look at that as a blessing.

  8. There are certainly different stages of life where keeping a budget is tough, if not impossible. I absolutely love budgets, but my first one was a disaster because my finances weren’t stable enough. It’s good to think about it on the front end so that you don’t come away frustrated if yours doesn’t work like you thought it would!

  9. Budgeting isn’t something I really think about in an emotional sense. I don’t like it or hate it, I just do it. It helps keep us on track and provides a continual reminder to ask ourselves if our money is lining up with our values.

  10. I agree that if you don’t want to use a budget – you won’t. Some way or another you won’t make it work for you. It’s hard for me when I see people do that since I happen to LOVE budgeting. :) I also think so many people view budgeting as being restrictive and having to say “no” to yourself. Of course, you dislike budgeting if you view it that way. I wouldn’t budget either. I believe budgeting gives me freedom. The freedom to choose how I spend my money. To me that’s empowering.

  11. Good post Mr. CBB! I think you know how I feel – I am a budgeting nerd. :) I love to budget, though we’ve been doing it for so long it just becomes second nature. I know it can be a challenge for many, but the key is to find what works for you and run with it.

  12. Great Jollyhoombah (@Hoombah) says:

    CBB! Tammy and I have a budget, but hardly ever use it because our spending philosophy is stronger than our budget is. It is a document of occasional utility, perhaps long term planning. Have a mellow Monday!

  13. If you really think budgets suck, and I have at some points in my life. you probably know you are not using your money wisely. Even if you make very little, I would think tracking and planning your spending would be meaningful. It also could inspire you to find ways to save or earn more money. It’s really easy to not stay on top of things and then complain that you’re broke. Doing something to fix the issue is the harder, but much more rewarding choice.

  14. Christine Weadick says:

    So far I have managed to have a budget for groceries but I’m still having issues with that one. I’m trying and consider it to be a work in progress. All in all an interesting article and plenty of food for thought. Some very good points here that I will spend some time working over and thinking about.

  15. Our budget is far from perfect but it keeps us on track. A necessity for us.

  16. When I started budgeting, I felt like I was telling me money where to go. I think you need a reason to budget–like saving up for a trip or retire. Also, I think budget don’t have to be spreadsheets–it could be putting money into savings first, then bills, and then whatever is leftover is “fun money.” Just don’t run out at the end of the month! : )

    • A budget can be whatever helps someone to keep their finances on track. If someone is taking the easy way out, still in debt and then says a budget doesn’t work maybe they aren’t doing it right. It’s all about the person saving, spending and documenting, no one else. If it works, it works if it doesn’t move on. Cheers mate

  17. I absolutely love my budget. It is the reason that we’re sane and have money in the bank! But, it’s not for everyone. My parents have never had a budget and they’re great for money. A budget is just a tool….it helps some people more than others.

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