10 Reasons People Don’t Use Budgets

posted by Andrea | 03/28/2011

Do you have a budget?

Yes a budget; a system to monitor and/or restrict how much money you save and spend each week, month, and year.

Personally, I’m a big believer in budgets.

I’ve had one for as long as I can remember {even all through college} and I think they’re an essential tool for reducing stress and creating a simple, more organized financial life.

Since I have seen the benefits of living with a strict budget, I really can’t comprehend why everyone wouldn’t want to jump on the band wagon and create their own budget! However, I know lots of people who, for various reasons, refuse to create and/or use a budget.

The list below compiles a few of the reasons I’ve heard…maybe you’ve used some of these same excuses!

10 Reasons People Don’t Use Budgets:

1. Accountability:

This is a biggie. Most people don’t like to be held accountable…for anything! And they certainly don’t want someone or something telling them how they can and can’t spend their money. Accountability means limits…and those are never fun.

However, by implementing a few limits, you might just be able to save up for something really big….

2. Apprehensiveness:

I find that most people simply don’t know how to create a budget or where to start. So if you’re looking for a really simply budgeting tool, I’d encourage you to download the same system I use…for free!

3. Image:

I think some people are just too proud to live on a budget — they feel it makes them look poor. However, I know quite a few people who look rich, but are really struggling financially.

I guess I’d rather look poor and have my finances under control!

4. Denial:

Without a budget, or any knowledge of how much money is available (or unavailable), it’s very easy to justify every dollar spent —  and sometimes we just want to spend without thinking about it. This is why American’s are so far in debt.

Unfortunately, embracing denial only works until you lose your job, get sick, or receive a foreclosure notice. Then the mess is unavoidable and undeniable.

5. Laziness:

Yes, it takes effort to create and maintain a budget. However, if your budget is too much work, then you’re doing something wrong. I only spend about 5 minutes a day updating my budget (yes I do it every day).

It might take a little longer when you first get started, but budgeting should be very easy.

6. Fear:

Starting a budget can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Plus, what if you start a budget…but then don’t stick to it? You don’t want to be a failure to you? Believe it or not, I know lots of people who don’t have a budget because “they’ll probably just mess it up anyway” — what a pessimistic attitude!

Seriously, I’m definitely a “live by the rules” type of person and even I splurge every now and then! A budget doesn’t have to be perfect, and if you slip up — just try to do better next time.

7. Time:

Many people think that in order to save money and live on a budget, they have to spend time clipping coupons, planning their weekly meals, going to five different groccery stores each week, etc.

Well, I only spend about 2 hours a week planning all our meals, clipping coupons, making my grocery list, finding deals, etc.  And even if you don’t want to do any of that, there are still a bunch of ways you can stick to your food budget without cutting coupons or spending any extra time.

8. Money:

I’ve honestly heard people say that they don’t have a budget because they don’t have/make enough money. Um…well, how do you expect to get/save/make more money if you don’t have a budget or a plan?

I can guarantee that Dave and I do NOT make a lot of money {he’s a Christian school teacher and I run my own business}. Yet we are still able to save over 50% of our income, contribute monthly towards various investments, put a chunk towards renovating our home, give to our church, and still live comfortably. This is ONLY possibly because we have a really strict budget.

And even if you can’t save 50% of your income; I bet you CAN save an extra 5% just by being more conscious of how and where your money is spent.

9. Spouse:

Yup, I know people who don’t use a budget because their spouse doesn’t want them to. This sounds absolutely crazy to me… and unfortunately, I don’t have a good solution for this one.

But keep trying… if they like to travel, set some type of savings goal and use the money you save for a family vacation. If they like going out to eat, encourage them to save $5 every day and then use that money for a fun weekend night out.

10. Did I miss anything?

What excuses have you heard?

What about you… Do you use a budget… or excuses??

Find a budgeting system that works for you, and start using it!

{top image credit}


Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

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  2. Audra


    I just shared a link to this post on Facebook! Your list started me thinking about which of these 10 apply to me! Thank you for your post!


  3. ICStarzz


    I fall into the lazy category. But also, when I was clipping coupons for a while, I found that it stressed me out when I was in the stores trying to find that exact item, I would be in the stores for a couple hours, it was terrible.


    Andrea Reply:

    If coupons stress you out…then DON’T use them!! Seriously, it’s not worth your time and sanity just to save a few bucks. I love using coupons, but there are plenty of other ways to save money!! Figure out what works for you — and then stick to it!


    ICStarzz Reply:

    I haven’t used coupons for a while. I found they also gave me a false sense of saving, because I would buy more things that we didn’t regularly use because I had coupons.
    Even though coupons do stress me out, I can’t help but notice that show on TV where this woman spends most of her day clipping coupons, and then shops, getting 3 carts full of food, and only having to pay $13.
    I need to teach myself how to do that! lol


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  5. MainlineMom


    Great post!! We never had a budget until a few months ago when we started Financial Peace U. It has helped us a lot, even when I knowingly go over my budget in a month. I just look for other areas to cut back on to balance it all out. I especially love the one about Image. Sometimes I feel weird when I’m shopping with my fashionista friends (I am one, for sure) and I mention my monthly clothing budget. But I secretly wonder if they have anywhere near the net worth we have.


    Jeff Reply:

    Just sent this on to wifey. I like the bitesize aspect of the post! I use Quicken and have 5+ years of detailed spending and income data, but three different times have fallen off the Budget wagon, even tho it’s got a great built-in budget tool. Historical deterrents for me I hope to use this post to help overcome:
    – self-employed complexities related to needed monthly tax savings and fluctuating monthly income
    – continued use of credit cards (albeit full statement amt paid off each month) allegedly to collect rewards adds complexity in the form of two additional accts to track. (should NOT be a deterrent with Quicken’s Acct Add tools, so will try to remind myself and overcome this)
    – anxiety related to establishing online logins for our Investment Accts, so that Quicken can auto download their information as well (also a lame anxiety)

    Anyway, thanks for this post, and thanks to MainLineMom for sending it on. Hopefully, I can use it to break through these last budget deterrents of my own.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jeff,
    Quick, simple, and “bite-sized” is how I live my life!!
    And even though I’m not a financial adviser, I know first-hand how our budget has helped us to simplify and organize our financial lives.

    Give it another try — once you find a system that works for you and your family, it won’t be difficult to stick to it!


    Andrea Reply:

    I used to feel weird opening my coupon folder in the grocery store, but now I just think about that fact that I save at least $25 per shopping trip…and what I will do with all that extra cash!! At some point {not sure when} I simply stopped caring what anyone else thought because I know how much we were able to save every year…and I’m positive it’s more than many of our friends/relatives who make significantly more money than we do!

    Budgeting it 100% worth the time and effort, and I’m convinced that if we ever get to the point where we don’t HAVE to budget…we still will!


  6. Anne


    This is a great list. I am a saver by nature, but I still resist budgeting, mostly because I abhor the end-of-the-month accounting that our system requires. We streamlined a couple of months ago (fewer categories, more cash and less debit card transactions) and that helped.

    We’re saving for a big financial goal right now, and that helps me love my budget. I am super-motivated to stay within it so that every extra penny can be siphoned into the savings fund!


  7. Cassie


    Thanks so much for posting this! To put it mildly, I suck at starting a budget. So I really hope I can make this happen!


    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Cassie — and even if you “suck at budgeting” there’s no better time to start than now!!

    Even if you just keep a small note pad with you to write down how much you spent during the day — that would be a start 🙂


    Cassie Reply:

    🙂 I know, ugh, it can just be soo hard. But after reading your post and finding a “homemade” budget worksheet from Becky’s blog (http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-i-organize-my-finances.html) I think I can do it. 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Cassie — I also offer a free budgeting worksheet that works well for us.

    I know you can do it!!!


    Cassie Reply:

    Thanks Andrea! I downloaded it, so now i’m using both. I love yours because it automatically adds and subtracts items. Love it! The other one i’m using to keep track of exactly what we are spending and where.

    Thank you so much! 🙂