Ahh, budgeting. We've been told we should, but we don’t. It’s a love hate relationship, just without the love part.
So what if - what if - we shouldn’t? What if under certain circumstances we’re actually perfectly justified - better off, even - to stop budgeting?
In my mind, there are four scenarios that call into question the need and legitimacy of budgeting as a financial discipline.
Perhaps we’ve been in one of these situations ourselves, or maybe we’re in one right now:
Let’s take a look at each of these examples in more depth and see if we might be onto something here.
Now I can’t take away from anyone’s experiences. If we’ve tried budgeting and hated it, I have no doubt that we hated it for good reason. Maybe it was annoying to keep up with? Maybe we weren’t seeing results? I know for me, and I think for a lot of people, we misdefine what budgeting is, and a lot of our negative emotions and poor results directly stem from those misunderstandings. I’m interested to hear - if you’ve been burnt by budgeting in the past, were you budgeting the right way?
I wonder a similar thing for those whose main hurdle is business. For most people, keeping a current budget takes around 2 minutes a day. Personally, I definitely spend a couple more, but that’s only because I genuinely enjoy looking at all the charts and reanalyzing all the numbers regularly. I’m an outlier in that regard. But still, if it were important to us, surely we’d be able to come up with 2 minutes of time, don’t you think? We certainly often feel differently about our spending habits than what is actually the case, meaning that for the cost of a few minutes a day, there’s an opportunity to save quite a bit of money. I’m willing to bet we’ll save more money per hour of budgeting than we make in an hour at work! Challenge accepted? :)
Then again, that begs the question: what kind of job are we working, and what kind of wiggle room do we actually have? Unfortunately, unless we budget, we won’t know the answer! Thus, even if we’re feeling like we’re poor and there’s nothing under our mattress right now, the truth is, some amount of money came through our hands this month, and it went somewhere. How much? To where? And how does that amount compare on average with other people around the world my age? We’ll only know by keeping track. I’m convinced that if we do just that - take full responsibility for whatever amount we make by budgeting - our financial situation will begin to improve dramatically!
And if income is irregular, that’s all the more reason to budget. Not only is it possible to plan for the unexpected, but it’s precisely why we plan in the first place - because of the unexpected. We’re in good company!
Of course, some of us are lucky enough to be more than set monetarily. If that's the case, can we drop this budgeting conversation already? Yes. We could. But I don’t think we want to. Seasons where we’re rolling in dough are perfect opportunities to take advantage of that flexibility in order to prepare for the future! By budgeting, we naturally stretch ourselves, saving and giving more that we would otherwise. I’m sure our future selves would thank us. Not only that, but people are counting on us. When we’re given much, much is expected from us; the responsibilities and standards we’re called to live by raise the more fortunate, influential, and powerful we become. This is not the time to kick back and relax!
Unsurprisingly, I think that budgeting should have a place in everyone’s life that interacts with money and possessions. I wouldn’t spend countless hours and years building a budget software if I thought it only applied to a select handful of people! :)
However, I also recognize that this area comes naturally to me. I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. I’m good at it. It makes sense to me. When it comes to living our best financial life possible, my natural wiring, personal interests, and upbringing are all unfair advantages that play in my favor. I can’t control the fact that I have those advantages, but I can help other people benefit from them. That’s why I create content at Get Enriched Quick, operate BudgetForLife, post about my investments on instagram, and offer financial coaching services - because I want you to win! I want you to crush it and to know you’re crushing it. I want you to LOVE your life. Every part, every day.
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