Stop the Excuses, Start the Budget

The key to feeling secure in your finances is knowing how many pennies you’ve got in your piggy bank and where they all go every month – and there’s no better way to help you do this than creating a budget and sticking to it!

While 60% of you reading this are already following or sticking to a monthly budget, the other 40% of you (you know who you are) are continuing to spend recklessly, potentially beyond your means.

To help show you that budgeting doesn’t have to be scary or mean that you’ll be stuck at home every weekend, we’re debunking the top eight reasons people gave us for not starting or sticking to a budget.

You think “budget” translates to “I’ll never eat out again”

It’s hard to get excited about the limits that a budget can put on you and your social life, but if your budget is done properly, it can be the opposite of confining. It can be liberating! You can spend your money completely guilt-free when you know that you’ve allocated other dollars to covering your monthly expenses. You’ll be able to enjoy going out to eat without going into debt in the process.

You’re afraid of what you’ll find

There’s no doubt about it, your spending habits might shock you once you take the time to track them. You may uncover what your Starbucks Chai Vanilla Latte habit is really costing you. While shocking, try not to be scared as this is a necessary step in the budgeting process. Being afraid of what you’ll find if you look closely at your finances, is a sign you probably need to. The longer you avoid your finances, the more likely the situation will get worse. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and confront your spending habits. The fear will be alleviated once you’re armed with the knowledge and power you need to identify the areas you need to reign in your spending.

Budgeting is boring

Yes, budgeting can be boring. But, boring now can lead to excitement later! Are you dreaming of a lavish holiday? Do you want to buy a house someday? Wish you could let loose and go on a shopping spree? These are the types of dreams that can become reality if you pay more attention to your finances. It still may not be fun, but having a goal to work towards at the end could be the motivation you need to make some changes.

Been there, done that and it didn’t work

Maybe you’ve tried budgeting in the past and you totally bombed. That’s ok! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Very few things that make a real impact in our lives come easy the first time we try them. Now, you have an opportunity to take the lessons you learned and change the way you approach your budget, and make it work for you this time around. You’ve got this!

You’ll start budgeting after…

After what? After you’ve finished that marathon you’ve also been meaning to train for? We completely understand how easy it is to put budgeting off until tomorrow, turn on Netflix and settle in with a bowl of popcorn. Coming up with excuses is fine if you plan on living paycheck to paycheck for rest of your life. But, if your goal is true financial freedom, there’s no time like the present to start budgeting.

You can keep track of your expenses in your head

Rent, groceries, utilities, car payments, cable, credit cards, daycare, gym membership, house insurance, cell phone, dining out, tuition, toiletries, Netflix, coffee, car insurance, Mom’s birthday gift, snacks, movies, girl’s night out, diapers, lunch, investments – see how easy it is to lose track? There’s a reason why you can find 80 different budgeting apps with a few swipes on your phone.

Your income is irregular, so a budget is unrealistic

You’re getting a little closer with this excuse, but we’re still not buying it. Having an irregular income can make budgeting more difficult, but it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a budget. You could use an average income each month or build a buffer and live on last month’s income. The key to budgeting with an irregular income is to figure out what method works best for you, and then putting that tactic to use every single month.

I don’t have any money left to budget

Let us put this simply – the reason you don’t have any money left to budget is because you aren’t doing a budget. If you have any money coming in at all, then you have something to budget with. A budget helps you take charge and allows you to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it all went at the end of the month.

Whatever your reason for not budgeting, we urge you to rethink it. For those of you who are struggling with money, there are simple ways that can take the edge off any anxiety, and remove some of the barriers to starting a budget. If you still find yourself struggling, we’re here to help!

At Smythe, our Licensed Insolvency Trustees are trained to work with you to determine the underlying cause of your financial difficulties, as well as assist you in improving your financial management skills, and provide you with effective budgeting strategies to help you achieve your monetary goals.

If you’re ready to start your journey to becoming debt free, contact one of our trusted advisors at one of our 13 offices conveniently located throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.