I just can’t stick to a budget!
Updated: May 10, 2021
Authentic Insight You cringe at the thought of budgeting even though you know good money management needs it. You have tried, you have downloaded one, paid hard earned money for a book or course, listened to your friend explain how amazing their cash management app is and you just can’t. In reality many people create a budget but very quickly stop using it which leads to discouragement and ultimately shaming yourself about not being good at money management.
Changing How You Think I would like to suggest that your personality is the culprit. This is good news because you do not have to change! Some people like working with specific facts and details in a precise and orderly manner on a regular schedule. Others prefer a broad plan with generalities and need to be spontaneous. All of these preferences are good and no one is wrong. Recognize that you prefer one style over the other and work with it. As a Myers-Briggs practitioner I have seen the reality of how different personality preferences impact money management. The goal is to keep an eye on what is coming in and what is spent.
What is Your Destination? Money is a thing you can learn to control, just like your car when you are driving or your lips when you are talking. Budgeting is keeping track of what you are spending so you can have more coming in then going out. You decide what you want to spend your money on, current needs and dreams in the future, and when you will have enough to make that purchase. Over time this process reduces guilt, shame and the fear of missing out.
Equip Yourself Fortunately, there are several money management methods. Some of you will prefer the convenience of a money tracking app which functions like a personal assistant. Others will naturally set up spreadsheets and linked equations in Excel. You can use a little notebook or a note app on your phone to record income and spending. You can look at your bank and credit card balances every couple of days to stay on top of things. Some of you may prefer to assign a specific amount to cover daily expenses and amounts that go into savings, big bills, investments, etc. and then spend the rest. Or some people just have a minimum balance in their daily account and never go under that amount. While vague, this method sets a line in the sand that works for them. Many of my financial coaching clients meet with me on a regular basis to ensure accountability. You get control and that’s the point.
The Shameless Option You still need to do the work at least once; a deep dive into your income and spending is critical. Be honest about the numbers. Then decide what level of detail and what schedule gives you confidence. Then you can research a variety of methods and you choose the right one not the one that claims to be the best. Confident money management can be achieved by almost anyone. Once you decide you can do it, how do you do it? That’s a good question for next time!