It’s easy to come up with excuses for not living on a budget and we’ve probably heard them all at MoneyWise.
A lot of “non-budgeters” don’t realize that most people eventually do get around to living on a budget, by maxed out credit cards if nothing else. The trick is to set up a plan for spending wisely before you’re forced to by overwhelming debt.
Let’s look at some of the top excuses for not having a budget.
First, “I stink at math, so I can’t budget.” Sorry, you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to set up a spending plan.
The free MoneyWise app not only gives you three different options for setting up a spending plan, it does all the math for you. Download it wherever you get your apps and search for “MoneyWise biblical finance”
Another top excuse is, “My job’s secure, so I don’t have to budget.” We still have low unemployment and workers are in great demand, but doesn’t mean your job is bullet proof.
Companies fail and people get laid off every day (many times by surprise), no matter what the economy’s doing. That’s why everyone needs 3 to 6 months living expenses in an emergency fund, and getting that is just about impossible without a spending plan.
Another excuse is, “I can always fall back on unemployment benefits if I lose my job.” Have you checked out unemployment benefits in your state? They’re usually a fraction of your regular income and by the way, they run out. If that should happen to you and you’re living on a budget and saving, you can make any income go much further.
Then there’s the classic, “It won't happen to me.” Talk about putting your head in the sand! We live in a fallen world, and bad things happen to people all the time. Matthew 5:45 tells us, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” So again, you have to be prepared with a budget and an emergency fund.
Some people cringe just hearing the word budget. They believe that a budget means “you can’t have any fun.” Then don’t call it a budget. We like “spending plan” better, anyway.
If you stick to one for a few months, you’ll see that just the opposite is true. Living on a spending plan is actually liberating. You have the same amount of money. You’re just deciding ahead of time where it goes.
You still get to enjoy life, even more so, because you’re not running out of money or going into debt. A spending plan means “peace of mind.” That Friday night pizza tastes even better when it’s in your spending plan.
The next excuse is actually true. It’s, “I’m afraid to set up a spending plan.” Those folks don’t want to find out how much they’ve been spending on things they don’t really need.
Like most of life, you have to face up to the task to enjoy the reward. In John 8, Jesus says, “... you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
You’ll probably be shocked to find out how much you spend on things like groceries and eating out, but that’s a good thing because it means you have discretionary income that you can better apply in other areas.
Another excuse for not budgeting that we hear a lot is, “I’ve tried to budget and it didn’t work.” That shouldn’t be a surprise. What life-changing practices work the first time you try them? Try, try again and be encouraged that learning to live on a spending plan truly will change your life for the better.
Finally, we hear, “I don’t need to budget because I’ve always got money left over each month.” That may be true for now, but it’s usually temporary. Living that way leads to “lifestyle creep.” The more money you have available, the more you spend on new things. Raises and tax refunds get gobbled up quickly. Then, if you suffer a loss of income, you’ll wish you still had that money.
If God has blessed you with more than you need right now, that’s even more reason to use it wisely. A spending plan will help you be more intentional about your giving. It’s all God’s money anyway and we should always use it to give glory to Him, with our spending and our giving.
Those are the top excuses for not living on a budget. We hope you’re not using any of them! If you are and need help setting up a budget, you can sign up with one of our volunteer coaches.
Budgeting is the first step to getting control of your finances and it will help you sleep better at night.
You can also listen to the related podcast on this topic.