The 10 Biggest Budgeting Excuses We Tell Ourselves
There are a lot of budgeting excuses out there…I know, I used all of them for way too long. I get it’s hard face. But hear me out.
Why don’t you have a budget?
“Now’s not the right time for our family.”
“We’re already so far in debt, it feels like it doesn’t even matter.”
“I was raised with parents who were poor and I don’t want my kids to feel like they’re going without.”
“I love going out to eat!”
“Christmas/Holidays/Mother’s Day/Birthday are coming up, so it’s not a good time to start.”
Here’s the deal: it’s NEVER the perfect time to budget. It’s sort of like starting a family. If you wait for the perfect time, it never really comes along. Life is always going to be happening. There will always be holidays coming up, there will always be events on the horizon, there will always be holiday plans, and more. At some point you have to put all of that aside and just jump in.
There’s also fear.
Many people are scared to face their budget. This is totally normal.
It can seem complicated and getting a handle on your finances requires making changes. We all know change can be really scary.
You might fear taking a realistic look at where you are financially. You might also have some guilt about how you got to that point. No one is proud of living beyond their means, yet, so many people do it.
Then there’s the social stigma of putting your family on a budget. First, there’s making sure your spouse is on board, and if they aren’t, that might be another pain point to address. Then there’s the feeling you’re going to disappoint your kids or your friends, wreck your diet and exercise plan, or just have to give up on fun altogether. You’re probably painting a sad picture right now…of you and your family isolated, huddled around a can of soup, reading by candlelight.
It’s not going to happen! These are all budgeting excuses!
It’s time to let go of these misconceptions. Focus on your WHY. Why do you want to get a handle on your budget? Why do you want to be financially stable?
We all have dreams and goals. I wanted to lose all the money stress. To stop having to worry about an unexpected bill. Yes it’s still rubbish when the bolier breaks down or the car needs work, but it no longer feels like the end of the world.
The first step to realising all these dreams started with our budget. We are well on our way to having those HUGE, seemingly unobtainable goals realized (and much sooner than we ever thought possible), and it’s all because we let go of the excuses of what it meant to be “on a budget.”We learned that budgeting is a key step in getting to where we wanted to be.
Breakdown these excuses and let them go, so you can get what you want out of life! It’s all possible—creating and maintaining a budget is the first step!
Excuse #1: Budgeting is hard. It’s complicated and I can’t deal with it.
Budgeting isn’t as hard as you think. You don’t need a degree in finance or past experience with complicated spreadsheets to have a budget. It’s simply money in vs. money out.
Yes, budgeting is a life skill, and unfortunately, many adults today are lacking training in certain basic areas of “adulting” and one of those is budgeting. If you feel like you need extra help, there are tons of resources out there.
Take a look at this helpful getting started page.
Excuse #2: There’s no point, because we’re already in so much debt.
What’s the point of even getting up in the morning? Life is futile. We’re all going to die…sheesh.
Giving up on tackling debt just because it seems overwhelming is the WORST approach to take. Even if you have debt up to your eyeballs and your finances seem out of control, it’s time to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.
Life goes on and it’s meant too be lived and enjoyed! If you’re struggling under the crushing weight of debt, it can be both depressing and much harder than it needs to be.
It’s not about sweeping change or swearing off spending any money forever, it’s about making little incremental changes to get yourself, your family and your budget into a better place.
Even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I promise it’s there. You didn’t accumulate debt overnight and it may take a while to dig out, but you can do it!
Excuse #3: Christmas is coming (or birthdays, holidays, etc.), so I’ll start later.
There will always be an event on the calendar. There will always be something to address, a holiday, a birthday. If you wait until it passes, there will never be a good time to get your budget on track.
There is NO time like the present. There are plenty of ways to stay on a budget even if you go on holiday.
It’s not about taking away from special times, but rather shifting your mentality from throwing money at an event to finding meaningful ways to make events feel important.
After all, when it comes down to it, the spirit of any special time like Christmas or a birthday is to celebrate and enjoy your time with those you love. If you’re having a tough time, maybe it’s time to revisit Dr. Seuss’ famous quote from the Grinch Who Stole
Christmas: “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
It’s not about stuff!
Excuse #4: Budgets = no fun.
There are plenty of ways you can still have fun and stick to your budget (and even have fun creating your budget).
Find a budget format that’s visually appealing. When your budget is nice to look at and organized, you’ll feel more motivated to stay on track and much more pumped about the whole “budget thing.”
Don’t feel like being on a budget means giving up fun either. Focus on experiences over “stuff.” Rather than shopping or spending money, find free and budget-friendly ways to entertain your family, get together with friends or even enjoy date night. Fun doesn’t have to be a foreign concept. There are plenty of things you can still do without spending money.
Excuse #5: I love going out to eat and I can’t cook.
First let go of the notion that being on a budget means never going out to eat again! You can still go out to eat! I can guarantee you will still enjoy dinner. You don’t need to be a gourmet chef or stress out about dinner.
When you review your budget, look at the impact food has on your spending. My grocery bill was one of the first areas that we could quickly change our spending habits on. We still ate well. Little changes can make a huge difference. Going out to eat a few times a week (especially if it’s spontaneous) can really add up—we’re talking hundreds of pounds a month.
Sometimes seeing it there in black and white can be all the motivation you need to start eating at home more often.
Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Even if you’re a total novice, there are tons of basic meals you can make in 15 minutes or less.
Stock your cupboards with basics and realise that when a restaurant meal is a special treat over a daily habit it becomes even MORE enjoyable!
Excuse #6: I don’t want my kids to go without.
This one’s a toughie. None of us want our kids to go without something they NEED. Maybe you were raised with not enough in your house. Maybe your parents said no to clothes or activities and it left you feeling like you want your kids to live with abundance. Children need a lot of things, but the trick is separating the needs from the WANTS.
Does your son need new trainers? Maybe, but does he need the most expensive ones? Could you find a cheaper pair that would still fit the bill? Could he do a few small jobs to earn them?
Children learn valuable lessons when they earn things. They learn that they don’t necessarily have to have every latest and greatest toy or clothing “status symbol” out there. Focus on giving experiences over things and teaching children to value and care for what they have. Helping children see the worth of things and understand savings and budgeting can help provide them with valuable skills that will carry them to success.
Excuse #7: I’m on a diet; I can’t lose weight and save money at once.
This also applies to things like, moving, having a baby, changing jobs, etc. It turns out we humans are amazingly adaptive.
We can actually do multiple things at once!
I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but so many of us get in the mindset of waiting for the right time to do things, when really, there’s no time like the present.
Just like holidays and other events—there will always be something going on. If you wait for life to hand you the “perfect time to get on a budget,” you’ll be waiting for a loooooong time.
If you’re trying to watch your weight, there are plenty of ways to lose weight on a budget. You don’t need expensive gym memberships or crazy meal plans. Instead, just trying getting yourself out there, moving more, and planning wise meal choices. You might even find that being on a budget helps you lose weight with less eating out and more enjoying dinner at home!
Excuse #8: We can never go on holiday again.
One thing that turns people off from budgeting is an all-or-nothing mentality. Just like thinking you’re giving up on holidays, going out to eat, or giving gifts—you don’t have to give up the things you love just because you’re sticking to a budget.
It’s far better to plan ahead and create a budget for your holiday. Know exactly how much you have to spend and what your itinerary is going to cost. Look for coupons, bargains and ways to save during your trip. Yes, it takes a little more time up front, but it’s far better than coming home with a big debt or just throwing caution to the wind and paying for it later.
Life is short. There is no reason to forgo holidays or swear off fun!You need time with your family to build memories and experiences. It’s important. Just be wise. Planning your budget is all there is too it!!
Excuse #9: I can’t get my spouse on board.
I totally get this! For me it was just really hard having those conversations. Money was so tight at times and we were both stressed and tired. It just never seemed like the right time.
Or maybe I just felt soooo much guilt I was avoiding it.
The shift came when we reviewed our big goals together. He could see where we were and where we wanted to be. It was obvious that if we were going to get to these big things we wanted, we would have to make some changes together.
If you’re struggling to get your family on board, you can still try to get your budget on track as much as possible on your own. Once your family sees the success coming from your small changes, they will probably be more open to making a few changes themselves.
Excuse #10: We’ll deal with it when we’re older.
I’ve heard this from a lot of younger couples and people who are just starting out. “I’m going to have fun now and worry about paying it off/saving for retirement/buying a house later.”
Good financial habits should be a lifelong journey. There are a lot of couples out there nearing retirement age who are very afraid because they didn’t start sooner. Budgets aren’t something to put off until later or ignore when you’re young. In fact, life happens fast. It can feel even faster when you’re hurling toward retirement with no plan in sight.
Instead, start saving today. Get your debt under control and get a handle on your finances. You’ll feel more relaxed and prepared to deal with whatever comes your way. We never know what life will throw at us, so it’s much better to be ready now.
Let go of these budgeting excuses and start making progress on your finances! There’s no time like the present!