Ask people why they forgo making and adhering to a budget, and you’ll hear a number of reasons that sound perfectly valid. Unfortunately, those “reasons” are usually nothing more than excuses.
If you’ve decided not to budget for any of the following reasons, it’s time to recognize them for what they are: excuses that are holding you back from reaching your financial goals. Here’s how you can overcome these excuses and take control of your money. (See also: Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System)
1. “I have an irregular income.”
Perhaps your income varies from month to month. Your irregular income could be the result of an irregular work schedule, a job that relies on tips or commissions, the vagaries of freelancing, or the realities of owning a small business. In any case, no matter why your income changes from month to month, you know that budgeting is simply impossible in your situation. After all, every single budget recommendation out there starts with the idea that you know what your monthly income will be. (See also: The 7 Worst Financial Excuses That Are Keeping You Poor)
Overcoming this excuse
While irregular income can make it a little more challenging to set up a budget, the process is hardly impossible. And with an irregular income it is even more important to have a budget to help you weather the lean months that those with a steady paycheck are less likely to see. Best of all, once you adhere to your irregular-income budget, you’ll no longer feel the big shifts between flush months and paying-rent-with-couch-change months.
To overcome this excuse, you need to start by figuring out your bare minimum expenses each month, and putting aside excess money whenever you can. As time goes by, you’ll find that you are easily able to make ends meet when you get a string of terrible tippers or a client whose “check is in the mail” for weeks on end.
2. “My expenses are always changing.”
The other side of the irregular income excuse is the belief that your expenses are too irregular to be able to properly budget. This is a common excuse among new homeowners who have learned that the ’80s film The Money Pit was more documentary than comedy. When you have no idea what major homeowner expense will crop up next, it can feel pointless to try budgeting.
However, not just homeowners are susceptible to this excuse. Anyone who has been overwhelmed by medical bills, irregularly-spaced insurance premiums, educational expenses, car repairs, and other “fun” financial surprises might think that budgeting is simply impossible. (See also: 5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget)
Overcoming this excuse
To overcome this budgeting excuse, you need to start by determining the difference between your irregular but predictable expenses, and truly unexpected expenses.
When it comes to irregular expenses, you might be surprised every six months when your car insurance premium comes due, but you can’t truly categorize the bill as unexpected. It’s a predictable expense that is very easy to forget about because of how infrequently it happens.
You can go back over last year’s bank and credit card statements to see which predictable but irregular expenses you routinely…