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Three Reasons Your Budget Will Never Work

by Don Current on July 26, 2010

Budget Tombstone

Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes

Recently I’ve seen several blogs and other forums where people have stated that they’ve tried to budget, but it just didn’t work for them. Here are three reasons that their budgets failed to work.

Reason 1: It’s not going to work if you don’t give it time.

When you’re new to budgeting, your first crack at it just isn’t going to work. You probably aren’t really sure how much you need to spend in each category since you’ve never really tracked it. That shouldn’t stop you from trying. Establish a starting point and make adjustments as you go along. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re just refining it to make it fit your situation. If you need an extra $20 a week to make the grocery budget work, then add it. You just need to find an area or areas where you can cut back in order to find that $20. ¬†Give your budget at least three months to really start working. Don’t give up on it.

Reason 2: You don’t really understand it.

I read someone’s blog where they said they had tried a bunch of different systems but they just didn’t work. The one in particular that struck me was that they said they tried paying off their debt like Dave Ramsey said, but all they ended up doing was depleting their savings. I happen to know a lot about Dave Ramsey’s system since my wife and I went through Financial Peace University. In addition, I was trained in his Financial Counseling program. I can assure you that if you spent all your savings getting out of debt, then you weren’t really following his system. Savings is a HUGE part of his methodology.

You can’t just take a piece or part of a system and expect it to work. You have to fully understand the whole system and try that first. Maybe there are areas you can deviate from once you become familiar with the system, but don’t try and short cut it and then say the system doesn’t work.

Reason 3: You don’t create a realistic budget for your situation.

Trying to be over agressive about your budget is not going to work either. Don’t try cutting out everything at once and expect the whole family to jump on board. Use a principle of moderation. You’re more likely to get support from everyone if you take it in steps and slowly cut back as you have success with your budet. Also don’t expect that something that works for one family is going to work for yours. Maybe one family doesn’t mind eating beans and rice for every meal in order to get out of debt. That doesn’t mean that’s going to work for your family. Maybe your family prefers to travel less and cut the gas budget back rather that skimping on the grocery budget.

In order to have success in the budgeting process, you need to be patient and realistic. You also need to make sure you fully understand the process. There are many books and websites that have a ton of information about budgeting and saving money. Make yourself knowledgeable on the subject so that you can have success. There are also many people out there that are very familiar with the subject and can provide you with help that is specific to your situation if you’re still having trouble getting there. Don’t give up. It can and will work if you stick to it.