In my almost-decade experience with budgeting, for myself and others, I’ve come across plenty of reasons, excuses, myths, and fears to explain why people don’t budget. I’ve been guilty of not budgeting, but I got my act together! I work with women directly to help them get their act together. Because we all need a budget.
We all need to be budgeting. I’m going to share 5 budgeting myths to forget right now, so you can start budgeting like you should be.
Before I get into the budgeting myths, I want to touch on the importance of budgeting your money: Regardless of how much or how little you make, budgeting will help you figure out how to manage the income you do have.
Budgeting will allow you to allocate your income to necessary expenses and spending.
Budgeting will show you what you should be doing with any profit.
Budgeting will show you if you should have profit each month but live paycheck to paycheck.
I can go on and on, but that’s not the purpose of this article! If you want to learn how to get through any fears or negative mindsets you have around budgeting, check out CGS Podcast Episode – Breaking Through the Stigma of Budgeting. A budget is a great thing, if you can get past your fears about it!
5 Budgeting Myths to Forget Now:
Myth #1: I can create a budget in my head
How’s that budget in your head working out for you? You may be able to put together a general idea of a budget in your head, but there’s no way to account for everything. Not to mention, wouldn’t you rather save your headspace for other things?
Creating a budget “in your head” opens the door for error. It can be easy to forget a few expenses, especially if they aren’t recurring. This means the budget you created in your head is already destined for failure. Stop the budgeting in your head and start getting your thoughts on paper. You will feel a lot less stressed as well.
Myth #2: My parents didn’t budget, so I can’t budget
It’s definitely true that we learn our money habits from our parents. If they didn’t budget their money well, then that’s what we grow up with. While learning habits around money can come from your parents, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a change for yourself.
Just because your parents didn’t budget, does not mean you aren’t capable of budgeting.
You have to accept that you didn’t have the best role models when it came to money, but you are going to do what you can to change that. Like any skill, budgeting can be learned and mastered.
Past experiences aside, you can change your budgeting ways and start all over. You just have to acknowledge there’s an issue, and then seek knowledge to help you change.
Myth #3: I have to be good with numbers or math to create a budget
Budgeting has nothing to do with math – thankfully, excel and Google Sheets can take care of that for you! If you are writing your numbers in a notebook, your calculator can do the math. While budgeting does require you to look at numbers, being good at numbers is not a requirement.
If you passed third grade math, you can handle budgeting. Simply add up your take-home income. Next, write out all of your expenses, then add them up (with a handy-dandy calculator). Subtract your total expenses from your total income. Boom. You will know right there if you have a profit or deficit each month.
A profit means after your expenses are subtracted from your income, you have money left over. A deficit means the opposite. After your expenses are subtracted from your income, you are in the negative. This means you are spending more than you make and are likely using credit cards or tapping into your savings.
The steps you take after that, have nothing to do with math.
Myth #4: A budget means I can’t have fun or enjoy life
Guess what? A budget doesn’t mean anything. A budget is simply a tool that tells you what money is coming in, what money is going out, and what money is left over. What you do with that information is entirely up to you. Likely, if you feel like you can’t have fun or enjoy life, it means you don’t have a budget.
You can factor in fun and the things you like to do into your budget. This means you are being smart with your fun spending. You know what you can truly afford to spend each month on fun and things you like. That’s the best way to budget.
It may not be a number you like, especially if you have some financial responsibilities to take care of, but something is better than nothing.
The key to enjoying life and having fun on a budget is moderation. Make sure you understand what you can afford spend on fun, then don’t exceed that. If that means saving up for a couple of months to take a big trip, so be it. You can certainly have fun and enjoy life on a budget, you just have to be smart about it.
Myth #5: I can’t ever go over my budget
No one can predict the future. You don’t know if your car is going to break down. You don’t know if you are going to lose your job or get a humongous raise. You don’t know if your significant other is going to move in and help cut your expenses.
Since you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s not fair or realistic to say that you can’t ever go over your budget.
Things happen all the time that may not be accounted for in your budget. That doesn’t mean you should get defeated and not create a budget. It also doesn’t mean that you should throw your budget out the window when something doesn’t go as planned.
Do your best to account for everything you can. You can do this by reviewing your past bank statements and credit card activity. Account for every expense. Another way you can be proactive is to budget for unexpected expenses.
Designate a certain amount of money each paycheck to go towards unplanned expenses. If nothing unplanned pops up, put into a savings account. This savings account can be your short-term emergency fund.
I’ve just debunked the 5 most common budgeting myths for you! I hope that shows you that a budget really isn’t that bad. In fact, a budget is really that good! If you are ready to get past your negative mindset about budgeting and create a solid, impactful budget for you, let me help! I create budget plans for clients. Get started here!
Did you believe any of the budgeting myths listed above? How do you feel about budgeting? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!