The Fears of Budgetingby Brian B.
As an adult I have avoided having a budget many times. Assuming that I was not alone in this experience, I asked a few family members and some friends why it was so difficult to create and stick to a budget.
The comments I received were quite similar, so I put together a list of the fears we face when we consider having a budget:
Fear of facing reality. No one likes seeing how our expenses are greater than our income. Ignorance is bliss, but increasing our debt with no sense of direction will eventually catch up with us and it will be the cause of much stress, many arguments, and regrets.
My family and I started experiencing more peace of mind and stability when we started
budgeting even though our expenses were greater than our income. There was certainty in knowing exactly how much we were short by.
Fear of commitment. We all live busy lives and adding one more thing to keep in mind and to keep track of is just not that appealing. We push away the idea of having a budget because we’ll need to track every transaction we make. That’s a lot of work! We can always use our bank’s assessment of our spending but this doesn’t help us understand and tame our spending habits. We need to keep a budget.
Learning our spending behaviors and learning to keep our money WellSpent is a learned habit and it will require work to make it part of our life. That’s the truth. We won’t become financially free by simply wishing and hoping our expenses are under control. We need to make it happen.
Fear of cutting back on ’needs'. This one hits close to home since I remember having epic conversations deciding which of our ‘needs' were really ‘wants' when we needed to keep a tight budget for a while. No one likes having things taken away but it is less painful when you look beyond the now and instead focus on the near future and the possibilities a little financial discipline can give us.
In our case, fasting from some of our ‘needs’ for some time, gave us the money we needed to catch up with debt. Paying off our debts is an absolute need that we tend to gracefully turn into a want until it truly consummates all of our wants and real needs.
Fear of of giving up control. The idea of freedom is sometimes happily disassociated with making good choices. No one likes having a list of things you can’t do or things you can’t buy. Having a budget may feel like boxing and constraining our ability to purchase anything our heart desires.
The truth is that spending wantonly now, with no vision of the near future, will only handicap our ability to maximize the acquiring power of ever dollar we earn. We are more likely to make good financial decisions when we are not in a mindset of “we don’t have enough”.
Fear of being poor. Let’s face it, who needs a budget? People who don’t know how to manage their money and who need to get out of debt. Early in my twenties I came to the realization that I could be poor whether I was making 10K or 100K a year. My financial standing was not determined by how much money I made but by how wisely I spent every dollar I made.
Poor people don’t budget, wise people do. Smart rich people budget. It’s hard to get out of the poverty mentality and start doing things differently, more wisely. That’s precisely what budgeting is. It is taking control of our spending tendencies in an effort to be financially free.
Fear of failing and not being perfect. Sticking to a budget is a very difficult task, but is not an impossible one. Like anything in life, we will make mistakes in the beginning. We will make many mistakes and that is just fine. It’s better to take two steps forward and one step back than to not take any steps at all.
Remember when we were children and making mistakes was simply part of life? We fell down, we cried a little, we felt sad for a couple of minutes, we got up and we moved on. At some point in our life, we become adults and we fear making mistakes. Mistakes become this shameful thing we don’t want to be associated with. Let’s make mistakes while budgeting! That’s the only way we’ll learn how we spend our money and how we can make every dollar count.
Fear of accountability. Being responsible for our own or our family’s financial well being can become a massive source of stress in life. But like a ship without a compass in the middle of a stormy ocean, we’ll end up sunk at the bottom of our debts if we don’t get a sense of direction.
I’ve always believed that it is better to go in the wrong direction for a little while than not to go anywhere at all. It is this going in the wrong direction that helps us see more clearly what the right direction is. This is much better than wasting years lost in a sea of unknowns and hopes only to realize later that we can’t purchase our first home, go on a trip or get more education simply because we had no clue which way we were going.
I’m learning to stick to a budget myself and I am learning a lot about myself and the spending habits of my family by using WellSpent every day. The way I spend money has changed since I started playing an active role in purposefully keeping track of my expenses. In some areas, my expenses are still larger than my income but I know which way I’m going and I’m in control of my ship.
Now that we have gone through the list of fears that keep us from budgeting, it’s time to face these fears and to start budgeting. It’s time to take control of our finances and to wisely keep your money WellSpent.