If you’ve ever sat down at the kitchen table to pore over your bills and had the nagging feeling that budgeting sucks, you’re certainly not alone! I think we can all agree there are some major disadvantages to budgeting.
Like going to work, exercising regularly, and eating six servings of fruits and veg every day, using a monthly budget isn’t always fun — especially not at first.
The reality is, budgeting requires the kind of discipline and hard decisions that many of us would rather avoid. This could be why, according to the most recent Gallup poll on the topic, only one in three households prepares a written budget each month. But if you have hopes and desires for the future (in other words, if you’re human 🙋♀️), following a budget is key to creating that future.
So, why is budgeting such a pain? Here are five of the most common budgeting disadvantages you may encounter when you’re first getting started, and some great ways to overcome them.
1. Budgeting is Yet Another Chore
As an adult, you have about a million things to do during the workweek, especially if you have kids. You’ve got your 9-5 job to deal with, but you also have to keep food in the house, warm meals in constant rotation, pets fed and watered, and your home in livable condition. Add in kids’ activities, sports, and homework, and it can feel like you’re barely treading water during the workweek.
How in the world are you supposed to start using a budget on top of all your other responsibilities? For many, the answer is simple: never budget at all.
In fact, a recent study from Debt.com noted that among both men and women who don’t use a budget, the second most common reason for not budgeting was that they simply don’t have the time.
2. You Can’t “Set It and Forget It”
Your budget isn’t a sprinkler system or a crockpot — you can’t set it up once and walk away.
While a monthly budget can be a written document, a spreadsheet on your computer, or a series of details you monitor in a mobile app, a budget is much more verb than noun. Not only do you have to set parameters for your spending each month when you use a monthly budget, but you have to “check in” with your spending throughout the month to make sure you’re on track.
And when the month is over? You’ll need to revisit your budget to see where tweaks may need to be made — especially at first.
3. Budgeting Means Going Without
Whether you need to save more money for retirement, pay off high-interest credit card debt, or get a better handle on your regular spending, using a budget almost always means learning to tell yourself “no.”
Depending on your spending, using a budget means cutting down on fun activities like dining out, going to the movies, or shopping at the mall. It could also mean going on a “spending freeze” for a while, as you look for ways to save more.
Budgeting always means setting limits for how much you spend in discretionary categories like food, entertainment, and transportation. By the end of each month, you may be going without until you can afford to pay for them again.
This may mean you’re having to set limits and say “no” in ways you’ve never done before. For many, this can be a real disadvantage.
4. Budgeting Can Be Depressing
While budgeting may not make everyone feel bad about their life choices, the act of using a budget can feel depressing, especially if you don’t make a ton of money to begin with.
The same Debt.com study we referenced above proves this point. Some of the study participants told surveyors that they don’t budget because they’d rather not bother. When asked why they don’t want to bother, both men and women gave the reason that they don’t earn much money.
This makes sense! If you’re drowning in high-interest debt, student loans, or other bills and your income is barely enough to keep up with them, the prospect of having to cut dinners out (or other activities you love) can be too much to take.
5. You Feel Like You’re Set Up to Fail
Maybe you budgeted in the past but failed due to surprise expenses or a lack of follow-up. Either way, it’s easy to feel like most budgets aren’t set up to help you win. Probably because they don’t leave room for error or even bad days.
Most people who try budgeting will run into at least a few roadblocks as they get into a rhythm. Those roadblocks might come in the form of a surprise car repair or a tendency to fall back into old spending habits. No matter the reason, these roadblocks have a way of ruining your plans nonetheless.
Trying to budget is like dieting when your coworkers are constantly bringing donuts to work. When you let life knock you off track, it’s way harder to get back on the wagon and try again.
How to Create a Budget that Doesn’t Suck
Despite all the budgeting disadvantages we’ve shared above, failing to have a plan for your money comes with real consequences and big opportunity cost. It’s why 94% of respondents in Debt.com’s study said everyone needs a budget regardless of their income or their goals.
Budgeting only sucks when you go about it the wrong way. And thankfully, there are tons of benefits to be gained when you create a plan for your money each month. For example:
- 77% of respondents to the Debt.com study said using a budget helped them get out of debt.
- budgeting your money is the best way to know where your income goes every month.
- paying yourself first (in the form of savings) is key to building long-term wealth.
And there’s more good news: if you want to overcome these budgeting disadvantages, it’s possible to do it without too much hassle and stress. If you’re ready to budget but want to do it the right way from the start, consider these tips:
Let Technology Do the Grunt Work
Gone are the days of sitting at the kitchen table with a pen and paper to draft a written budget. Thanks to technology and the internet, budgeting is now considerably easier than it has been in the past.
Related: 5 Reasons Budgeting Apps Don’t Work
With the Qube Money app, for example, you can create a monthly budget that operates entirely on your mobile device. You even get the chance to create separate digital accounts for different types of spending. This creates purpose for every dollar and automatically tracks your purchases in different categories on your behalf.
When you set up a “Qube,” or a digital cash envelope, and spend from it using your Qube debit card, all the budgeting is done for you in real time. Transactions and balances are updated automatically. You’ll no longer have to remember what you bought or how much you spent, which means you can spend your time focusing on your goals instead.
Leave Room for Error
One of the big budgeting disadvantages is that many written budgets don’t leave room for something to go wrong. And since nearly three in ten adults (28 percent) don’t have any emergency savings, all it takes is one surprise bill or stint off of work to send your budget into a tailspin.
This is why you should strive to have three months of living expenses socked away in emergency savings. It’s also a good idea to budget a reasonable amount of money for unexpected spending each month. Fortunately, this is easy to do with most budgeting apps, including Qube Money.
Budget for Stuff You Want
Lastly, make sure you’re budgeting for the things you want. This could mean using Qube Money to set up a vacation fund that you contribute to regularly. Or it might mean allocating a certain amount of cash to dining out or shopping each month.
Budgeting allows you to spend on experiences or items that make all your hard work worth it. The point is to identify your priorities and start spending less on what you don’t care about, so you can do the things you care about the most.
Whether you sign up for Qube Money, or you create a written budget yourself, the whole point is practice. Budgeting requires set limits on your spending, but the goal is to get more out of life!
So even though there are quite a few budgeting disadvantages, doing it right can not only be easy, it will without a doubt make life more fun!
Make Your Life Easier!
To access the tools, automation, and support you need to make following your budget super fun and easy, sign up for the Qube Money app today!
And if you’d like step-by-step help setting up your Qube Money system, check out our super fun companion course, Qube Masters!