Money management can seem a dull topic, but it’s an important one. In fact managing your money is crucial to being able to live the life you want, whatever that is. Here we look at the top 5 excuses for not setting a personal budget and show you how to tackle them.
- I don’t have time
Make time. Lack of time is possibly the single most overused excuse there is and for most people it is simply not true. The reality is that life is about prioritising and it’s only human to prefer to prioritise activities we enjoy over ones we don’t. If you don’t find budgeting fun, or see any point to it, then it’s easy to find other ways to spend time you could be using for it.
Try another approach. Write down your key life goals and list at least 3 ways budgeting can help you reach them. For example, if you want to pay off your credit cards, then budgeting now will help you put together the money you need. It will also teach you the good money-management skills you’ll need during your retirement and it will get you used to living on a lower income than the one you have at the moment. That gives you the why of budgeting. Now start your budgeting journey, with small steps. You could take 5 to 10 minutes to skim-read your bank statements for the last 3 months and see where your money is going.
- I need to do X first
If you really need to do something first then do it. If you can’t do it now then look to see what aspects of your budget you can sort now and deal with the rest whenever you’ve done X. In general, however, “I need to do X first” is just a variation of “I don’t have time”. The longer you can spin out (not) doing X, the longer you can put off getting to grips with budgeting.
- I’m making ends meet but I have less disposable income
Good for you, but you could still benefit from budgeting. Budgeting starts with understanding where your money is going each month and goes on to making informed decisions about where to spend it each and every month after that. Fundamentally, budgeting is about balancing the need to live in the present with the recognition that money saved now can be put to use in the future, basically it’s about prioritising. If buying your morning coffee in a coffee-shop is an integral part of your day, which gives you the boost you need to get moving, then fair enough. It could be money well spent. If, however, you just need caffeine to get you going, then making your own is likely to be cheaper and the money saved can go towards something else, which is more important to you.
- Budgeting is complicated
It’s only complicated until you get the hang of it. Tying shoelaces used to be complicated but you got the hang of that. Budgeting starts with keeping track of where your money is going and there’s nothing particularly complicated about that. Your bank statements will cover standing orders and direct debits, so you just need to keep track of direct purchases. Given that most phones these days have cameras on them, you could quite feasibly do this just by taking a picture of every receipt you get and using your phone to keep a note of the occasional purchase for which you don’t get a receipt. Many of the banking apps have a budgeting functionality and there are several other apps available to assist you in keeping track of your expenditure.
- My income varies from month to month. It’s impossible to budget and plan
It’s lucky that’s not actually true, because, as a minimum, budgeting aims to ensure that you have enough money to pay your essential expenses at the time when your income is at its lowest. It will also help you to make the most of any excess income you earn in the good months.
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