You’ve probably heard it before if you have spent any time learning about personal finances. Although it seems like common sense, many people don’t create a budget. This is often not for the best reasons.
Many of the reasons people give for not budgeting are myths. Read on to learn the truth behind 9 common budgeting myths so that you can get on the right path to creating your own financial blueprint.
It’s a common excuse for not doing something in life: “It takes too much time.” However, your first budget will only take a few hours. After that, your budget won’t need to be modified much unless you have major life changes such as getting married or receiving a raise.
Budgets can seem restrictive because you are limited in what you can spend on certain financial categories. A well-drafted budget can feel liberating.
You can, for example, include a daily coffee in your budget. While it is true that some areas of your budget might need to be cut, you still have control over where your money goes and what priorities you set for your life.
If you don’t adhere to your budget, it is a waste of time. A budget is a great way to get on the right path to financial success. Consider how much effort and time you spend on maintaining the things you value most, such as your car, home, or hobbies. It is unlikely that you would consider the effort you put into caring for these items “wasted.” The exact same applies to your budget.
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Remember the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out”? The same thing that’s true for computers is also true for budgets. When you create a budget, you can put as many pie-in-the-sky numbers in as you like, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
The key to a successful budget is utilizing real-world numbers, even if it’s hard to face the financial truth in black and white. If you find that budgeting isn’t realistic, it’s likely due to the numbers that you yourself are using.
Start with your actual bank statements and record real-world information about your cash flow if you want to end up with a budget that is indeed realistic.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that a budget not written down is more likely than one that has been. Even though you might think you have a good handle on your income and expenses it is easy to forget about the “one-time expenses” that will always come up. Budgeting is a common problem for many people. It’s like trying to diet.
Non-budgeters argue that budgets don’t work because there are always unexpected costs in the real world. The second part of this statement is true. However, a good budget accounts for the unexpected.
When preparing your budget, all you need to do is add a line item to cover miscellaneous costs to your regular, recurring expenses such as rent or insurance payments. While you may not always get the exact amount, it will help you to establish a realistic and long-term average of “unexpected expenses”.
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Budgets are often viewed as a luxury that is only available to those who have low income. This myth states that people with lower incomes have less money to spend on their expenses, and so they are not required to budget.
Budgeting is a good idea for those with low incomes. However, budgeting is not the same for those who have higher incomes. Most people who earn more tend to spend more. The gap between incomes and expenses can be as wide as for those with lower incomes.
One reason people avoid budgeting is that they don’t have the money to have fun. This is a myth, as the exact opposite holds true for a budget. Budgets allow you to choose how much “fun”, you just need to balance it somewhere else.
A budget can help you plan for three vacations each year. However, the cost could be your daily coffee, your dining-out budget, or your streaming subscriptions. It’s important that you remember when you create your budget that you can do whatever you want, but you cannot do everything.
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The budget for an individual or household should not be confused with the balance sheet of a Fortune 500 company.
To create a budget, you will only need basic addition and subtractions. Budgeting software can be used to assist you with math if you find it even this daunting. Also, “There’s too much math” is no reason to avoid a budget.
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