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Friday, September 12, 2014

Budgeting Myths That Are Probably Ruining Your Life

Budgeting myths that are probably ruining your life
Belief shapes behavior. If you believe Star Wars is superior to Star Trek you'll probably enjoy finding opportunities to slam Trek fans. If you believe eating chocolate is good for you, you'll probably get fat. If you believe that budgeting isn't necessary you'll probably go broke.

And if you are struggling with managing your money it might be because you're believing lies about the budgeting process. If you follow our blog at all you know that Dani and I budget regularly—if for no other reason than the fact that it works!—and we want you to be a budget-head too. It can be really hard to get started, but not because budgeting is actually hard—trust me, it's not—but because many people buy into some of the myths that turn the budget into a bad guy.

If you're smart—and we believe you are—then you can learn to let go of these myths, excuses, and misunderstandings, and start building the wealth you've always wanted to have.

Budgeting Myth #1

I don't have time to budget.

Sure, budgeting takes some time, but there's a difference between not having the time and not having the motivation, which is most likely the case, wouldn't you agree? Getting a budget up and running might take a few hours, but after that all it takes is a few minutes a week.

Want to know how much time Dani and I spend on our budget? About one hour a month. We keep track of our receipts and expenses, which takes a few seconds here and there, and at the end of the month we get together to compare our expenses to our budget, make adjustments, and plan for next month, but in total it probably doesn't take more than one hour.

Managing your money needs to be a higher priority since it is one of the largest contributing factors to the quality of your life. We have lots of posts to help you create a budget. Click here.

Budgeting Myth #2

I'm not good at math.

Oh, be quiet. Nobody is as bad at math as me. I loathe math. I jumped for joy when I finally graduated high school for the simple fact that I never had to open another math book again. There simply aren't enough synonyms for the word "detest" to describe how much I hate math.

And yet I budget.

Seriously, budgeting isn't rocket science. You've got your monthly income. You've got your monthly expenses. Those two numbers need to equal zero. Wham. Bam. There's your budget. You're welcome :-)

And thanks to budgeting software, you don't have to be good at math, you simply have to be able to follow instructions. Many of these programs are free and can be safely downloaded without fear of viruses or spyware from CNET's If you know how to use spreadsheet software, you can even make your own budget. Or, if you're like me and Dani, you can use paper and a plain, old-fashioned number 2 pencil.

Not doing a budget because you don't like math is a really lame excuse. Dave Ramsey has some really simple budgeting forms to help get you started.

Budgeting Myth #3

I keep track of budgeting in my head.

Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure you do. And that's why you never bounce a check, never find yourself overspending, and are sitting on a mountain of liquid cash. If you can seriously do a zero-based budget in your head every single month we’ll just assume you are the most brilliant person on the planet. Could you please help our government make a budget?

A budget in your head isn’t a budget. It’s just a vague-idea-of-what-I-spend deal-ish thing. To work, a budget needs to be written down so you can physically keep track of your assets. Moreover, if you're married and doing a budget in your head, how does that help your spouse? Guys, I'm talking at you! (And some ladies). You need to keep your spouse involved in the financial decision making.

Budgeting Myth #4

I don't need to budget because I keep track of everything I spend.

Great! That's budgeting. Sorta. Well, it's a start, but it's not a budget. If you're only keeping track of spending than you're only keeping track of the past. What about the future? The point of having a budget is to look ahead and plan for the coming month, year, and lifetime. You need to make plans for the money you haven't spent yet. Look forward AND back, not just one or the other.

Budgeting Myth #5

I want to be free to buy the things I want.

Cool. So do I. And that's why I budget. That doesn't mean I impulsively purchase every single thing I see, it means I've developed enough self-control to know where I want my money to go. If you like buying movies—like I do—budget for it. If you like getting coffee every morning—plan ahead. Need a new car? A camera? Need some landscaping done? Make. A. Budget! If you've got a budget for these things you will always have the money set aside for them, because a budget, over time, can build a cushion that provides increased purchasing power.

Read that again: increased purchasing power. Ooooh, I like the sounds of that!

The more of these myths—and others—you believe the more your actions will be defined by them. Don't let your future get bogged down under the weight of so many lies.

Keep pinchin' :-)

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