Wanna know a secret?
I’m not a born budgeter.
Yeah. I didn’t exit the womb looking for the closest pencil and calculator.
Growing up, I actually was more of an English/history/art student than a math/science nerd. I guess it’s because I loved the power of stories and didn’t think numbers could tell them.
(Boy, was I wrong).
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered how budgets are actually kinda sexy (or, more importantly, tell stories about our lives).
I’ve found them to be kind of fun - like a giant crossword puzzle - and yes, I’m a certified budget nerd.
That being said, here are five reasons why you don’t (based on the highly-scientific evidence of my own opinions)
You never learned how - As someone who’s taught her fair share of SAT and ACT students, I’m gobsmacked - gobsmacked, I tell you - about how we overemphasize the arcane and underemphasize the practical in school (sometimes, I think this is weirdly intentional). A cursory Google search yields the findings that when home ec was eliminated in the 1960s and 1970s (due to changing societal and gendered norms), a lot of those taught skills went by the wayside. I’m not saying we should bring back shop class for the boys and cooking for the girls, but I do believe teaching basic life skills would make a world of difference.
You tried it, and it didn’t work - In the beginning of trying anything new, you’re not going to be good at it - welcome to the human race. It’s not easy. When you’re learning a new skill –and you’re working on your own– it can be hard to get back up when you fall down or make a mistake. That’s why people give up easily, begrudge the wasted time, and vow never to do it again.
There’s no ‘why’ - If there’s no ‘why,’ then there’s no point. You need a reason to take on a new activity or, when life gets in the way, it will be abandoned (see point #2).
You think it can only be done on spreadsheets (and they hate spreadsheets). Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. You can do pen and paper; you can do software like YNAB and EveryDollar. The possibilities are endless.
You're scared of what you might find. Yes, it can be hard to take a good, hard look at your finances, but it’s sooooooo worth it. Once you get over the shock, you’ll see that it’s probably not so bad (your mind may have made it worse than it seemed to be). It’s necessary to face it to erase it.
Those are five reasons why people generally don’t create a budget (and these reasons usually hide behind the excuse of “I have no time.”).
Now, here’s the reason why you should: a budget tells you the story of what you want out of life–and what you will pay to achieve that. It provides a laser beam to your behavior, goals, values, good habits, and bad habits. It gives you a place to make a plan for your life and then collect the data points of actually walking that out.
Now if you want to learn how to budget, that's my I cover in my Financial Coaching package. In six short sessions, I teach you how to budget, and we come up with a system that works for you, so you walk away with a greater sense of financial ease.