4 Reasons It Is Hard to Budget

As I assist others in the creation of budgets that actually work, I see certain issues that crop up very frequently.  In fact, here are four reasons that budgeting is difficult for many people.

4 Reasons It Is Hard To Budget

1.  Unwillingness to change behavior.  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, but they are still getting weekly manicures – something is wrong!  If someone is unable to pay their bills, yet are still spending a ton of money eating at restaurants – something is wrong! Behavior MUST change in order to move from “surviving” to “thriving” financially.

2.  It is not about money at all.  It is a TRUST issue.  You want to see power struggles in a marriage? Get them to talk about their money!  I believe a lack of trust is a HUGE reason that it is hard for many couples to budget.  It is about trust.  Here are some of the questions being asked.

  • 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 to do well in the future! – Because you have messed up with money in the past!

3.  One spouse is not interested in working with the other.  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 run up a huge credit card bill, or shows up with a new car, or buys a new boat, or signs up for an expensive vacation, or … The list goes on and on.  When this occurs, the “behaving” spouse (who has been following the spending plan) becomes 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 financial 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 UNDERSTAND HOW SOMEONE COULD NOT WORK FOR SIX MONTHS!  How is this possible?  GO TO WORK! DO SOMETHING! 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 help 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!


You CAN have a budget that really works!  Check out our FREE BUDGET TOOLS to get started.

My book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., can help you learn to live and operate with a monthly budget and begin to fund your dreams. Purchase your copy today and get started!

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  1. RobS on July 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Good stuff. #1 hits home. “Will is the entire man in action” — it’s what gets things done. If someone has the will, they can often find the way to make it done, but “unwillingness” is going to kill progress just about all the time.

  2. Scott B on July 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Joe, I really can’t believe you had to write this. But then again, I was there too. Just want to thank you for opening my eyes to something so simple. Just gives me a little piece of mind.

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