As I assist others in the creation of workable budgets, I see certain issues crop up often. These are reasons that budgeting might be difficult for some people.
1. Unwillingness to change behavior. This is an out-and-out rebellion! A refusal to recognize that INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO will not eliminate this fact from being reality. If someone is unable to pay their bills, and they are still getting weekly manicures, something is wrong! If someone is unable to pay their bills, yet are still spending $50/week eating at restaurants, something is wrong!
2. It is not about money at all. It is a TRUST issue. Wow! You want to see power struggles in a marriage? Get them to talk about their money! I believe this is a HUGE reason that it is hard to budget for some couples. It is about TRUST. Do I TRUST you enough to put our money together into a single checking account? Do I TRUST you enough to let you pull cash out for spending money? Do I TRUST you enough to follow our written plan – the budget? Do I TRUST you enough to hear your opinion about where we should spend our money? Do I TRUST you enough to believe that we really need to spend that much money at the grocery store? Do I TRUST you – because you have screwed it up in the past? I am telling you this is a HUGE reason why it is so hard to budget. Ppssssst!! You can do it! I believe in you!
3. One spouse is not interested in working together. This will kill a budget before it ever starts! I have seen multiple examples where one person works like crazy to get their money in order, only to have the unfortunate surprise that their spouse has a huge credit card bill run up, or shows up with a new car, or buys a new boat, or signs up for an expensive vacation, or … Oh my goodness! Then the other spouse (who has been using a spending plan) is VERY TEMPTED to throw in the towel and join in with the frivolous spending. They reason, "Well, if he/she can have what they want, I deserve it too …" Couples who do not work together on major financial decisions run a high risk of not maximizing their potential. They also run a higher risk of divorce …
4. Failure to recognize that there is an "INCOME" portion to the INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO equation. Seriously, I can't believe I have to write this, but it is SO true! I have people show up for counseling, and they are not working! Now, I can understand a couple of weeks without work (maybe), but I REALLY DO NOT GET NOT WORKING FOR SIX MONTHS! My GOD! How is this possible? GET OFF OF YOUR BUTT AND GO TO WORK! There is a great place to go when you are broke! TO WORK! It is a sure-fired money-making scheme! (Thanks, Dave Ramsey!) There is NO EXCUSE in God's greatest nation on the planet where there are at least 1,000,001 ways to make money. Go get a job. I don't care if it makes someone feel sad to take a job at McDonald's! It makes me feel sad when they draw welfare for 6 months when they have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that they cannot work – except for "it makes me feel bad". Waaah! Earn some money. It will cure depression.
Well, I have ranted enough today. I know that it can be difficult to budget, but I believe that you can do this! I believe that you have the know-how, the capability, and the inner-strength to work together with your spouse, avoid the debt trap, develop a plan for your life, and have fun doing this together!