“I Don’t Have Time” and Other Budgeting Excuses You Can Fix Right Now

budget budgeting excuses fix tipsI’ve been recommending doing a written monthly budget for many years now.  That’s not gonna change any time soon.

Today I’ll cover what are probably the most common excuses for not making a budget.  I’ll give you tips on how to overcome those excuses, and provide you with a load of killer resources at the end to help get you moving forward.


Everybody Has a Budgeting Excuse

Doing a consistent, written budget is the best thing you can do to start getting your finances under control.  When you start this valuable habit and stick to it, you’ll stop living paycheck to paycheck and stop spending more than you make.

But no matter how many times I tell people what an awesome tool budgeting is for getting control of your finances, I continue to hear tons of excuses from people about why they can’t, or won’t, do a budget.


The 5 Most Common Excuses For Not Doing a Budget

So I thought I’d make a list of the top five excuses that I hear on a regular basis for not doing a monthly budget, and how to fix each one of those excuses right not so you can start getting control of your money for good.

Check it out:

  • I Just Don’t Have The Time-  Seriously?  Surely you can find 30 minutes a month to do a budget!  C’mon!  It’s true that it can take longer the first few times you do a budget.  But that’s because you’re developing a new habit, and it takes some time to learn how to do it.  But after 2-3 months you quickly become a pro at budgeting, and once you do, it only takes about 30 minutes or so every month.  C’mon, you can find 30 minutes a month to save literally tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Think about how that quick 30 minutes will also relieve you of the stress of not knowing where all your money is going.  Take the time.  Get it done.
  •  I Track My Spending-  That’s awesome!  Keeping track of your spending is a good habit to develop.  You’re doing better than a lot of people because you’re actually taking the time to keep track of what you spend.  But just tracking your spending is not good enough.  A solid zero based budget, done at the beginning of the month before you spend your money lets you to be proactive instead of reactive.  It gives you a direction for how to spend the money before you spend it, instead of showing you how it got spent.  When you plan your spending in advance with a budget, it’s always better than reviewing how you spent in the past, after you may have already spent more than you actually have.
  • I Can Do My Budget In My Head-  There’s always one in the crowd.  You know, the guy who says he can keep track of every financial detail in his head.  If that’s you, you’re deceiving yourself.  Unless you’re the “Rain Man” then you only have a general idea of what your financial situation really is.  A zero based budget is a plan on how to spend your money before you start spending it.  There are lots of moving parts to it, and you can’t effectively keep track of all of them in your brain.  Write down every detail, you’ll see a large difference compared to what’s in your brain.
  • Making a Budget is Boring-  Ok, I realize doing a budget isn’t the highlight of your day.  But what’s better, always being under the gun financially and letting your money leaks keep draining away your paycheck, or being able to exercise complete control over your money?  Complete control sounds like a ton more fun to me!  You gotta get past the “boring” excuse and show some gumption if you want to succeed financially.
  • I Hate Math-  Dude, it’s just simple addition and subtraction!  I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say about a million times that budgeting is just 6th grade math.  That’s totally inaccurate!  My wife Angie is a 6th grade math teacher, and 6th grade math is a lot more complicated than that.  It’s more like 2nd or 3rd grade math.  I know dealing with numbers might not be your idea of fun, but this isn’t rocket science.  Don’t let the “I hate math” excuse keep you stressed about money and in debt because you’re just not a “math person”.  Overcome your fear, use a calculator, and use your budget to get your finances on track for good!


My Experience With Making Excuses

I know from personal experience what it’s like to make excuses when I know something in my life needs to change.  Angie and I spent quite a few years stagnating financially because we didn’t take the steps we needed to take to start winning with our finances .

But here’s what I learned:  starting a new habit gets much easier the more you do it.  I’ve finally gotten out of the habit of making excuses.  I’ve learned to dive in head first much more quickly than I did in the past.

I still have occasional lapses with making excuses, but now I know how to recognize it quickly and stop it in it’s tracks before it takes hold.


Action Gets It Done!

Look, you can make all the excuses you want for not making a budget.  These are just the top five.

If you’re not that motivated to fix your financial problems, you’ll find plenty of reasons not to do it.

But if you do want to change your situation, you’ll get past all the lame excuses and do what you need to do.

Action is what gets stuff done!


 Everything You Need To Get Started

I’ve written a lot of articles on budgeting in the past, so I thought I would provide you with some of those resources to get you started.  Most are free, and a couple are paid, but if you want to get control of your finances instead of letting  them control you, here’s the best place to get started:

Free Resources- Blog Posts

How Do You Start a Budget?

How Do You Start a Budget (Round 2)

How Do You Budget on a Variable Income?

Why Your Budget Doesn’t Work

Free Downloadable Budgeting Forms
Paid Resources-

Book:  “Balance: The Quick and Easy Guide to Financial Stability Using a Budget” by Dr. Jason Cabler-  Find out more here

Course:  The Celebrating Financial Freedom get out of debt course.  An online video course that teaches everything you need to know to get out of debt and stay out, using common sense and Christian principles.  Learn more here



Photo Credit: Tax Credits via Compfight cc

About Dr. Jason Cabler

7 Responses to ““I Don’t Have Time” and Other Budgeting Excuses You Can Fix Right Now”

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  1. JMK says:

    Great summary. I’d also suggest the sequel for those already in the monthly habbit – “setting up an annual budget/spending plan”. If you are in a frugal mode and already tracking your spending, planning out your monthly income and spending in advance then why not go a step further? It’s likely 90% of the items on your plan are identical from month to month so there are very few surprises. Until you receive a raise or bonus, your income will likely continue to arrive for the same amount on the same schedule into the future. Your internet/phone amounts are likely either fixed or fluctuate very little, so again predictable well into the future. If you have a weekly grocery and gas budget, you can enter those on a weekly schedule off into the distance too. Variable amounts? If your utilities fluctuate over the seasons, look back over the past couple of years and determine a reasonable estimate for each month (plus a little to allow for increased rates and freak weather). When you actually buy groceries, gas, or pay a utility bill just change the budgetted amount to the actual amount and the running balance will update. Keep a list of any quarterly or annual expenses and add those in to the appropriate week (annual insurance, vet visit, license renewals, school or camp fees, holiday gifts, etc) The advantage of setting up a spreadsheet with every known, predictable item layed out months into the future is that it allows you to see well inadvance where timing issues may arrise. For example the kids summer camp fees will be due the same week as the annual car insurance premium. Knowing there is an expensive week looming several months before it happens means you have time to juggle any flexible expenses in the weeks leading up. The biggest advantage I’ve found is that by being able to look into the future and see how much “excess” should be in the account if we stick to the plan, means that on a weekly basis I know exactly how much I can really skim off and sent to our retirement accounts or make an extra mortgage payment. Getting those extra dollars out of our account as soon as possible and moved to where they really do some good is a big part of our journey to early retirement. It also means we’re never tempted to look at the excess as money we can waste on nonsense. Of course life has a way of not following the plan and unscheduled items are bound to appear. When it happens I insert a row on the spreadsheet, add in the item and the excess available for the weekly transfer goes down accordingly. Seeing the lost savings opportunity in black and white certainly causes me to pause before doing any unscheduled spending – I hate having to add an extra row!

  2. I loved the article! It’s crazy how many excuses people can come up with. I have heard all of these and I think they’re all pretty lame.

  3. Before, I had lots of excuses why I’m not making any budget, I told myself that I’m too busy or I always forgot what I had spent. But now, I really tried to record even a small purchase that I had made with the use of mobile application on tracking expenses, in this way it’s easier for me to compare my expenses monthly.

  4. I love the “in my head” one. Yeah, sure you are! 🙂 My excuse was that I would just forget about it after I stared all hung-ho. It took me YEARS to finally make it a habit.

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