Suppose you were hired to manage the funds for an entity which will be spending over $1.5 million dollars. Now imagine that your employer asks to see your budget report. If you say, “I don’t use a budget…I tried it once and it didn’t work,” do you think you would still have a job? Of course not!
Consider this: if you make $40,000 a year for 40 years, (over $1.5 million dollars), you are that entity. Furthermore, if you are spending all that money without a plan, you should fire yourself — with one caveat — once you decide to manage your money, you should rehire yourself.
Basically, any excuse for not following a budget is a feeble one. Here are five:
1. I tried it once and it didn’t work.
No budget works perfectly the first time you try it. However, if you continue fine tuning it each month for at least three months, it will work.
2. I hate math.
We are talking addition and subtraction here, not rocket science. You might not enjoy math (many people don’t), but think of it this way: no money management will produce stress, uncertainty and a hazy future for you and your family. Isn’t the opposite (peace, security and a plan for the future) worth some addition and subtraction?
3. My spouse won’t agree.
Because your family money management is a refection of your family value system, a refusal by one spouse to discuss a budget is an implicit statement that those marital values are not important. You may need marriage counseling.
4. It takes too much time.
What is your time worth? Most people, when they create a written budget, discover they had been letting at least $100 a month slip through the cracks. Therefore, if you spend thirty minutes a month working on your budget, your time is worth $200 an hour. Do you still think it takes too much time?
5. I am afraid of being controlled.
You are in control of your budget, not vice-versa. It is true that once you set your budget, you are committed to following it. However, you should never forget that your budget is your servant, not your task master. Therefore, you can and should modify your budget any time it is not adequately serving you.
Feeble, feeble, feeble. If you have been avoiding your budget, you need to fire yourself, make a “no more excuses” vow, and then re-hire the new you. Today would be a great day to do so.
Readers: Do you live on a budget? If not, what is your excuse?