Today we’re going to look into budgeting pitfalls – reasons that cause us to give up on our budgeting attempts and how to possibly work through and overcome them.
For many budgeting is a four letter word and it really shouldn’t be! Budgeting is simply planning how you’re going to spend the money you expect to come in your household. Many confuse budgeting with keeping a checkbook register. This is a key step in creating a budget and sticking to one but is not the same thing.
Some Common Budgeting Pitfalls
- Negative attitude / Lack of Buy In – If you’re being forced to budget or really don’t want to budget, than guess what? You probably won’t be too successful at it. If we don’t have the proper motivation to do something, then are we really going to give it our best? I know I won’t. This is a personal decision that you have to make for yourself and your family.
- Lack of motivation/support – This goes hand-in-hand with having a negative attitude. If you’re in a relationship and your significant other doesn’t believe in budgeting then it can be much more difficult. Especially if you’re dependent on their income and the decisions they make directly impact your household finances. This is something we’re going to discuss in more detail in a future post this month. I’d love to hear from you if this is something that you’ve successfully dealt with or have specific questions you’d like addressed.
- Unrealistic expectations – This is not an overnight process. You will most likely not find the cure-all, win-all immediately. Expect hiccups and frustrations. Just like your financial problems did not begin overnight, they can’t be corrected overnight.
- Not willing to change your lifestyle habits – This is a hot spot with many of my family and friends – especially if you’re looking at creating a savings fund or paying down debt. You have to be willing to make some changes (and for some they may be drastic) in order to make a difference in your wallet and your bank accounts. Frequent eating out, unnecessary shopping trips (even if they are “bargain shopping”), regular splurges – they all may have to be trimmed down or even eliminated for a period of time. The question I always ask myself is if making a short-term sacrifice is worth the long-term rewards that I want for my family?
- The belief that you can’t afford to have a budget or don’t make enough money to create a budget – Sorry. I can’t accept that one. I truly believe that budgeting when you have less helps you to stay on track and as your income increases you’ll be better at managing the increase and have even more money to save and spend on extras. The concept of budgeting is to allocate the funds you expect to have – if you’re only going to have $100 then that’s what you base your budget on. If your expenses are $500 then you’ve got some serious trimming to do or need to come up with some ways to increase your income.
- Comfortable with living below the line – If you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey, then you know that anything “below the line” are those items that you just don’t have enough funds to pay when you look at your household income. The goal is to pay off debt, increase your income and eventually get your items all above the line. Well, there are some people who are okay with having the majority of their bills be below the line. Many times this something that is passed down from generation to generation. My personal reflection is this a way of existence that I want for my children.
What budgeting pitfalls have you worked through or are working through?
You never know how your struggles and successes will help motivate and inspire someone else…