Budgets Aren’t Supposed to Work. You Are.

by Shawanda Greene

BudgetRamit Sethi, a personal finance blogger I greatly admire and respect, recently bashed budgets again in a post entitled
7 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money. In lie number 3, “I’m going to start keeping a budget,” Ramit correctly identifies why people don’t track their spending:

  1. It’s hard,
  2. It makes you uncomfortable, and
  3. It’s easier to pick your nose with your mouth agape and do nothing.

Sound suspiciously like the same reasons there’s an obesity epidemic in the United States.

Many people dislike budgets, because they’re difficult to successfully execute. That’s to be expected. If you’ve spent practically your entire life mismanaging your money, don’t expect the behavior to change instantly.

And forget about the notion it takes 21 days to break a habit. That’s bullshiggedy. You’re in for a much longer battle than that. Every January 2nd, the gym is overrun with people who’ve resolved to exercise more and lose weight. By mid-February, the resolutioners are all gone, and I can show up to spinning class 5 minutes before it starts confident a bike will be available.

If people worked out consistently, made healthy food choices, and burned more calories than they consumed, would they lose weight? That’s what the experts say.

Does the common gym have the equipment necessary to increase muscle mass and burn fat? So I’ve heard.

If your income is greater than your expenses, is it possible to save money? There is no other way.

As the answers to the three questions above indicate, it’s not the gym or the budget that’s keeping you from accomplishing your goals.

Don’t be too hasty blaming your failure on the plan. The problem doesn’t lie within the plan. It lies within you. Budgets, like fitness goals, aren’t suppose to work.

You are.

If you allow it, a budget can be an effective tool in your overall financial plan. It’s a written testament to the fact that monetary resources are limited and that in order to accumulate wealth you must live below your means.

Oh, what a magical world we’d live in if the mere act of writing down wishes automatically resulted in receiving them. Unfortunately, a carefully crafted budget ain’t worth a warm bucket of spit if you don’t follow through.

How do you plan on achieving your 2010 financial goals?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

jessica January 2, 2010 at 3:34 AM

So true! I don't know how many years in a row my resolutions have been the same thing! (I love your word bullshiggedy!)


Shawanda January 2, 2010 at 3:55 AM

My New Year's resolutions aren't much different than most peoples. I haven't had a problem accomplishing financial goals. Fitness goals are harder for me to stick to, but I already know I won't be able to accomplish either without executing a plan.

As for the word, bullshiggedy…I stole it! My friend Tia at The Hostess Chick (http://thehostesschick.blogspot.com/) said it the other day, and I started cracking up. It's perfect for creating emphasis while keeping the blog family friendly, sort of.


Frugal Fries March 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Okay, so–I really think tracking is important. I don't believe that a budget, without the effort, will magically save the financial day, but I do think it helps a lot. Same with tracking your calories or exercise. These are all tools to help you, not the be-all and end-all solutions.


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