The personal finance community rarely discusses the disadvantages of budgeting. Most likely, a conversation around budgeting will only include an emphatic rundown of the benefits.
A budgeting conversation will be filled with phrases like “it can change your life” or ” you’re not taking your finances seriously if you’re not budgeting.” What will be left out are the potential limitations of budgeting.
Why is that? Are the disadvantages of budgeting all myths? Are they ignored to persuade others to take control of their finances? Surely, there has to be a logical explanation, right?
There are endless reasons to create and stick to a budget but without dissecting the potential disadvantages of budgeting, it’s hard to make a truly unbiased case to persuade a non-budgeter to begin.
Perhaps, the disadvantages of budgeting are avoided in an effort to convince someone of the powers of budgeting. After all, discussing a budget can be incredibly difficult.
If you don’t believe me, try to have a budgeting conversation with a non-budgeting friend… see how THAT goes.
If they don’t glaze over and pass out from boredom, I’d venture to imagine they’ll quickly explain why they wouldn’t want to live under the life-ending, joy-sucking constraints of a budget.
The excuses or reasons not to utilize a budget will flow like the salmon of Capistrano, but… are they really valid?
Are the disadvantages of budgeting fact or fiction? Let’s find out…
BONUS: Don’t miss this awesome monthly budget planner!
It’s Too Time Consuming
Creating a budget can take a long time. A budget can be tedious to create and often requires daily maintenance to ensure everything remains in order.
A commonly perceived disadvantage to budgeting is the time required to plan, create, and maintain a budget.
But, how long does it actually take to create a budget? Is it REALLY that much of a time commitment?
Initially, you’ll need to complete the following actions:
- Calculate your total monthly income
- Audit the previous 2-3 month’s spending habits (this can be completed via an excel export)
- Identify all required bills and due dates
- Identify a budget for all household and other required expenses
- Calculate other “nice to have” expenses
- See how much money remains…
The time it takes to complete this will vary, but I would guess it would take less than a few hours initially.
After your budget is created, there will be some daily maintenance required. I review our spending every day, and it takes me less than 10 minutes per day.
The last time-consuming perceived disadvantage of budgeting is the budget meeting you may need to have in your household. My wife and I budget bi-weekly and we have a quick meeting the Thursday before payday.
We identify any upcoming expenses or wants we may have during the next two week period. We’ve developed a routine and it takes less than 10 minutes. Initially, when we first started, it would take roughly 30 minutes.
Fact or Fiction: Can “It’s too time consuming” be considered one of the disadvantages of budgeting?
Another one of the commonly cited disadvantages of budgeting is that it leads to a rigid, boring, and generally joyless lifestyle.
The act of holding ourselves accountable is perceived as rigid. This is partially true. Budgeting does require a certain amount of rigidity.
Maintaining a rigid budget can easily be perceived as a disadvantage of budgeting, but it’s necessary to be successful.
A rigid budget doesn’t lead to a rigid lifestyle. Maintaining a rigid budget actually has a paradoxical reaction on your lifestyle. You’ll end up living a more fulfilling and free life as a result of some rigid financial constraints.
Jocko Willink has a motto “Discipline equals freedom”, and I believe it fits this situation well.
Once you create and stick to a budget, you’ll quickly realize you have more money than you ever imagined, and you’ll be able to purchase anything you want.
Birds start chirping, the sun comes out, and the potential of a financially free life smacks you square in the forehead.
Fact or Fiction: Can a rigid lifestyle be considered as one of the disadvantages of budgeting?
I remember when we first started budgeting. It was a pretty frustrating time. We would fail often, spend more than we planned, and end up moving money around from our savings to avoid over-drafting our account.
I’m not here to lie to you, I was annoyed and frustrated for the first few months.
Budgeting can be an incredibly frustrating process. You spend hours creating a budget, monitor it every day, and sometimes… it’ll fail.
The frustration that stems from a failure is soul crushing. So… why even bother, right?
It’s easy to view frustration as a limitation of budgeting. After all, who likes to experience frustration when you’ve put a lot of time and energy into something?
The reality is, your budget will fail. Even after years of living on a rigid budget, we still fail from time to time.
But, my views on failure have evolved. I no longer get frustrated when our budget fails, and I take it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a personal finance nerd.
After all, the point of all this budgeting is to become the biggest personal finance nerd on the inter-webs and take over the world…
Ok, not really, but that sounds cool, right? (pushes glasses up)
Fact or Fiction: Can frustration be considered one of the disadvantages of budgeting?
Take the frustration on and learn from it, don’t avoid it.
I’m Not Smart Enough
I can totally relate to this one… There was a time that I thought I wasn’t smart enough to budget and manage my money.
I assumed that my intelligence was a limitation of budgeting. I’m a Registered Nurse, I don’t carry a degree in finance… therefore I’m not smart enough.
Ok, first off… you are smart enough. Managing your money isn’t rocket science. It’s money in, money out, and a lot of self-control.
There aren’t any secrets or tricks to creating and maintaining a successful budget. You can create your first budget on a piece of paper with only a calculator, a pencil, and access to your spending history.
If you’re still on the fence about being able to create a budget, check out the 50/30/20 budget. This bad boy will do all of the work for you. You’ll only need to identify what fits into the three categories (needs, wants, savings).
Seriously… You can do this.
Secondly, this isn’t a limitation of budgeting… it’s a limitation of your confidence, and that needs to stop now.
Anyone can take control of their life and start a budget.
Fact or Fiction: Can “I’m not smart enough” be considered one of the disadvantages of budgeting?
Did y’all hear about the new summer blockbuster based on a family of 4 who maintains a rigid budget? No? Yea, me neither… crap.
Budgeting isn’t an exciting topic. It’s viewed as a boring, soul-sucking activity that only nerds with pocket protectors do.
I guess this can be true… if you let it. Budgeting and talking about money should be an invigorating activity. Planning your life, looking into the future, and plotting out your path to financial independence.
That’s not boring… That. Is. Awesome.
Budgeting will be as boring as you make it out to be. We use budgeting as a way to get excited about our financial future. We plan our year out and try to beat our budgeted savings rate.
Another way to make budgeting fun is to use colorful budget printables. You can utilize these when you’re discussing your monthly plans with your family.
We use budgeting to fuel our financial motivation. This is how we plan for our financial independence.
Fact or fiction: Can “it’s boring” be considered one of the limitations of budgeting?
I Don’t Have Enough Money
Does the amount of money you have limit your ability to budget? Or is not budgeting limiting the amount of money you have?
I’ll let that Yoda-like wisdom wash over you… Go ahead, reread that.
Budgeting isn’t limited by your income. If you feel like you don’t have enough money to budget, you need to start budgeting… NOW.
One of the first things I noticed when we started budgeting was how much more money we had now compared to the months we didn’t budget. It was amazing.
Budgeting isn’t just for the rich, it’s for everyone, and it will help you become rich.
Budgeting and financial success go hand in hand.
Fact or Fiction: Can “I don’t have enough money” be considered one of the limitations of budgeting?
Disadvantages of Budgeting Final Word
The reasons people choose to not budget are typically excuses disguised as rational thinking.
Whether it’s fear of failure, frustration, lack of education, or an inability to make time… there are many excuses, but few hold any weight when dissected.
On the other hand, the benefits of budgeting are vast.
Stop letting your own fears and frustrations prevent you from taking control of your finances. Start budgeting, make mistakes, and make improvements… Own. Your. Finances.
What’s your favorite fictional disadvantage of budgeting? Let us know in the comments!