Budgeting is an important discipline that can create new ways to enjoy life, but its potential is often lost under a list of “rules”. Navigating these rules can seem complicated and overwhelming.
We’ve broken down four myths about budgeting to simplify adding this discipline to your life.
Myth 1: “Living on a budget” means depriving yourself
Budgeting isn’t about deprivation, but about allocation: it’s anticipating what you’re going to need, and then making decisions ahead of time to make sure you meet your own expectations. Good budgets don’t cut things that make you happy – they facilitate them!
Myth 2: Budgets are about money
The most common thing that gets budgeted is money – individuals, businesses, and governments all do it. But there are other important things in our lives that could benefit from careful assessment, including how we use our time (“time management” is really just a form of budgeting) and our screen-time (a particularly popular form of “budgeting” for parents).
Myth 3: You need budgeting tools to budget
While there are lots of (often free) budgeting resources and tools online, and through your bank or credit union, you don’t need much more than a pencil and paper (or a great memory) to live on a budget. Anticipate what you need and then track yourself against it; that’s budgeting at its most basic.
Myth 4: Once a budget is broken it can’t be repaired
Because budgeting is a discipline, we can be hard on ourselves when we “fall off” with an impulsive purchase or unexpected expense. But sometimes it can be better to think of a budget as a set of guidelines – and when life happens, you can acknowledge the disruption while still resuming what you had planned.
Budgeting Tools That Won’t Break Your Budget
We mentioned that there are some great online resources for budgeting. Here are a few that might work for you: