Why is budgeting so hard?
Whatever your financial situation is, creating and maintaining a budget is the most important step for financial stability. If you want to create wealth, you need a budget. If you want to maintain wealth, you need a budget. If you do not measure what you are spending, you won’t be able to manage it. It sounds simple enough in theory. So why is budgeting so hard?
What I have discovered through my work with clients and my own personal experiences on this topic is three types of beliefs. These beliefs trigger resistance in taking action and can cause other self-sabotaging actions.
Creating financial stability is an overwhelming challenge for many people from all walks of life. The cost of living is too high (especially here in NYC). Family emergencies, child care, medical costs, divorce and education can be very stressful experiences and expenses added to that. It can feel like you can never catch a break.
Money was a subject I lacked confidence in (among many others) for many years. Growing up I wasn’t taught how to manage money. As a young adult I felt everyone else knew better than me. This belief lead to me allowing others to make decisions for me because I didn’t feel capable of making good decisions for myself. Managing money was especially intimidating for me. It was only when I went through my divorce, did I go through a crash course in how to handle various aspects of my life independently. It was an intense period of time in my life that was messy and chaotic. The whole experience felt like I was being thrown into an ocean during a hurricane, without knowing how to swim. I knew I needed to swim and so was forced to do so by making decisions and taking action steps. I made many mistakes along the way and discovered after the fact how I could have done things better. Going through all of those experiences forced me to grow and evolve. I learned a lot through it all and now use those lessons to help others in my work as a coach.
Early on in my coaching career, I worked at a non-profit for about a year and a half. Part of my work involved financial coaching and teaching a monthly workshop on financial planning. At first I felt VERY intimidated by this, because I felt I was not qualified to teach others about financial stability. All I had was my life experiences of trial and error. I certainly had come a long way with myself, but felt insecure about instructing others on that topic. I was taught the curriculum to use and found a way to use my personal experiences with the material. What I discovered was that my experiences added value for the participants in my classes and coaching sessions.
Through my work there and the work I do presently as a coach, I have realized that when it comes to budgeting there are three common types of beliefs people have that create resistance around budgeting. I have had my own personal experience with them as well.
Do you have any beliefs that sound like the following?
1. “What's the point in creating a budget in the first place when I don't make that much money?
No matter how much money you are making, you need a budget. If you are making $0 then you still need to create a budget to figure out how much you need to make to get by. It might feel pointless and overwhelming at first. Knowing what your specific financial needs are is a great starting point to figure out what next steps you need to take in order to stabilize your situation.
2. “I know where my money goes, so there is no need to create a budget.”
Writing things out allows us to see things from a different perspective and find new solutions to our problems. Otherwise things can be a jumble in our head, which then can add to more feelings of overwhelm. When we unpack our mental clutter we can see things more clearly.
Tracking your spending allows you to be in control of your money and make informed decisions. You might be even losing money in ways you didn't realize. For example going to Dunkin' Donuts five times a week may not feel like a big deal at the time. Let's say each time you spend about $5. (Big deal...It’s only $5 right?). Well…5 X $5 = $25 a week. $25 a week is $100 a month. Where else could you use that $100 instead? Now I'm not saying don't go treat yourself, but you may not have realized you had that $100 to pay towards something else. You may not have realized this until you calculated your spending for your budget.
There are some great apps out there that do all the work for you and they are free! All you need to do is plug in your numbers. I have been using Expense Manager for many years now. Every Dollar is another one I have heard about and planning to try out starting in February. I set up my budget information and just want to start out when the new month starts. I plan to write a review about my experience another time.
Apps like this are great because every time you spend money you track it in the app. You can see where all of your money is going and what you have available to spend for the month.
3. “I know I should create a budget, but I’m afraid to see how bad things are....Ignorance is bliss.”
Ignorance is bliss right? Sure it is until you keep putting things on your credit card until it is all maxed out and then reality comes crashing down on you. I am very familiar with this scenario from my past experiences and sometimes still do struggle with this mindset. I have gotten better with it and when I catch myself thinking this way, I take steps to correct course.
Many times people (including me at one point) view a budget as a something that takes away their money. A budget really is just a system that allows you to tell your money what to do. Having knowledge helps conquer fear. Conquering fear allows you to take action. Nothing can change unless you take action.
A powerful book I read that helped me reduce a lot of my anxiety around money is Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind – Mastering The Inner Game Of Wealth” By T. Harv Eker. This book helped me uncover my money blue print (subconscious beliefs I have around money). Shifting my mindset around money has allowed me to feel less resistance in taking action to improve my financial situation. Eker’s style of personal storytelling and practical insight was really inspired me and has helped me feel more empowered with my decision making. I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone looking to improve their financial situation.
Budgeting doesn't have to feel hard. Understanding and healing your mindset around money will help you work through the resistance you feel when it comes to managing your finances. No matter what your financial situation is, you need to have a budget in place to create and maintain financial stability.
If you are struggling with a lot of debt, creating a budget will help you stabilize your spending and get clear on what types of actions you need to take to eliminate your debt. If you are in a situation where you are considering actions such as bankruptcy or consolidation loans it is important to do your research. There are a lot of scams out there!
Creating new habits is a process. It is important to refrain from judging yourself harshly. Learn from your past so you can build a better future. Focus on the things you have control over and create a plan. The hardest part is getting started. For more support click here to schedule a free Discovery Call with me.
Take your power back! You got this! :-)
Jennifer Shlomovich is a Certified Personal Development coach who specializes in helping others conquer their chaos. To learn more visit www.innerclaritywithjms.com.