Have you ever tried to keep a budget and for some reason or another, been unsuccessful at updating it, or staying within its restrictions on spending, and called it quits? I’ve heard of enough people who have (and have struggled myself) that the below article rang out loud and true to me, and I had to share. One reader wrote to the finance section of Fox News to inquire what she did wrong in keeping her budget, and Fox came back with a helpful, well-written and inspiring response. Read Gary Foreman’s article addressing why budgets fail, and how to make yours succeed:
“You’re not alone. A lot of people start a budget only to find that it doesn’t seem to work for them. They give up frustrated and convinced that they can’t control their finances. That’s a shame — because it’s not true. Almost everyone can take control of their spending.
Budgets generally fail for a few basic reasons. Either the budget was poorly designed, unrealistic or a poor match for the person using it, or the person using it gave up too soon. Let’s look at each reason.
The first failure is due to poorly designed budgets. That often happens because people misunderstand what a budget is supposed to do. The purpose of a budget isn’t to keep you from spending money. The purpose of a budget is to be a tool to help you manage your money by identifying where your spending is different from what you planned.
The trap that too many budgets fall into is that they collect and report much more data than the average person is willing to collect or could ever use. You don’t need to know where every penny is spent and what it was spent on.”
So no excuses, guys. Read the rest of the article and start tracking where your hard-earned dough is really going–you might be surprised at what you find. It could be that you’re spending your left arm on Starbucks (as if you didn’t already know that,) or that the cable bill is ridiculously high for how often you watch TV each month. Challenge of the week: keep a budget for one month and see what you can cut out and put towards savings (or the kids’ college fund, or your vacation fund.) Ready? Go!