This is Why Your Budget DID NOT WORK! (and what will!)
Budgets don’t work. I said what I said. *Drops mic*
Here’s why: most adults associate the word “budget” with what they can’t have. When they create their “budget” they only include what they think they “should” pay for, not what they know they WILL pay for. They create an aspirational document instead of a working document.
Which isn’t the point at all.
Why YOUR Budget Didn’t Work
I’ve spent HOURS working with clients to put together a budget for them, and there tends to be some recurring themes when it doesn’t work.
Here are the Top Three Reasons I’ve seen Budgets Not Work:
- You didn’t put everything in it. Like I said above, many people create a “budget” based on what they think they should spend their money on, not what they know they’re going to spend their money on! If you don’t put everything in it, you’re kinda doomed before you even start.
- You didn’t actually USE IT. You took the time to plan out all the bills you were going to pay, how much you were going to spend on groceries, gas, etc --- and then stuck it in a drawer and ignored it. Honey, we’ve all done it and that’s why I’m here!
- You didn’t put any “give” in it. You didn’t give yourself any room for spontaneity or for unexpected expenses. You didn’t give yourself any room for fun. Like let’s say, you find out your college roommate is in town and you want to meet her for dinner and drinks! (I’m not talking about unexpected car repairs, etc. That would be your Emergency Fund.)
A Budget IS NOT Adult Time-out!
A budget isn’t the equivalent of "adult time-out". It’s also not supposed to make you feel like you’re wearing the equivalent of financial sackcloth and ashes!
It’s just a PLAN around how you’re going to spend the finite amount of dollars you get each month.
What to use INSTEAD of a BUDGET!
Let’s use a Money Plan instead!!
Okay, yes, changing the word is semantics at best, but hey, it WORKS!
Because, let’s be real, a budget - if we must use that word - is nothing more than a PLAN.
Unless you’re Jeff Bezos or Oprah, all of us have a finite number of dollars we get to spend each week.
AND we have certain bills and expenses those dollars need to pay. That’s ALL a budget is, figuring out which dollars are going to pay for which bills/things.
Here are some tips to making your Money Plan work:
- Pay YOURSELF first! In other words, SAVE first, and then pay bills. Saving pays for life’s big and little emergencies. But, it’s also insurance against working until you’re 80. Saving today takes care of the YOU of tomorrow. Need some help becoming a Saver? I wrote this blog on how to become a Saver, even if you’ve NEVER been one before!
- Next Pay DEBT! Here’s another blog on the 3 Debt Strategies
- Now, take a look at what days you get paid and when your bills are due. Figure out which bills you’re going to pay with which paycheck. I do this on my calendar, if you want to see how I use a Free Google Calendar to manage all my money, just click here
- Put EVERYTHING IN IT! Don’t get all judge-y on yourself. If you KNOW you’re going to eat out three days a week, then put it in the plan. Here’s my rule of thumb: you can have everything you want, but you might not be able to have it all EVERY WEEK. So, if you’re going to eat out three days a week, then what are you NOT going to do?
- What I’ve found both personally, and with my coaching clients, is that the sooner the money for savings and bills is out of my checking account, the better! I often joke that I can’t spend what’s not in my checking account, but it’s also absolutely TRUE!
So, we now have our Money Plan!
No need to use that pesky “budget” word at all! 😉 😉 😉
If you’re still struggling, darlin’ I see you! My favorite way to “Budget” is using a Bill Calendar and what I like to call the Paycheck Method of Budgeting.
I love both of these methods because they are easy and intuitive. Plus, I live in my calendar and look at many, many times per day. Having all of my bills and expenses on my calendar keeps them all top of mind so I don’t get surprised by anything!
Check them out here:
**I am not a licensed financial advisor. I am a money expert and I offer education, tips, tricks and my opinions around money. You should consult a professional who understands your needs in order to make the best decisions for you! Additionally, some links in this blog may be affiliate links, which means if you click the link and buy the product I may earn a small commission - at NO COST to You! It’s one of the ways I keep the lights on around here so TYIA! 😉
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