You’ve heard all the hype. In fact, you may even be tired of all the hype. “You need to do a budget!” How many times have you heard that? With every (well, almost every) financial expert on the planet saying you should do a budget, why are so many still not? Maybe you’ve just never been given a persuasive argument. Allow me to attempt to convince you.
1) It acts as a blueprint.
Imagine the situation. You and your spouse decide that it’s time to build a house. You don’t really worry how much it’s going to cost and your builder tells you he sort of has an idea in his head what it will look like. Can you imagine the disaster this is going to turn into? What if the house ends up costing $700,000 and you can only afford a $200,000 house? What if the builder puts things in the wrong location and you end up hating everything about it? Not to mention how much time and money will be wasted by not having a plan. No one in their right mind would do that. The problem is most people do this with the monthly budget. Just think, if you make the household average income of around $45,000 per year, you will have 1.8 million dollars pass through your hands from age 25-65. That’s right: 1.8 million dollars! Having a budget will help you get the most out of all of that money. It’s like having a blueprint for your money. Often, not having that blueprint can turn into a financial disaster!
2) It forces communication in your marriage.
When you do a budget, it forces husbands and wives to spend time talking to each other. The only way for a budget to truly work long term is for both spouses to be on the same page. This means that they must share their hopes, dreams, and goals with each other. For example, your wife may say that she wants to put aside money in savings because she wants to take the kids to Disney World in two years. Your husband may say that it is really important to him to put a certain percentage into retirement because he would love to retire at age 55. It’s amazing what you can learn about your spouse simply by doing a budget.
3) Reduces stress.
Stress and worry are often born from the unknown. When you really don’t know if you have enough money to buy something you need, it causes stress. If you don’t really know where all of the money you make seems to disappear to, it causes stress. If you really don’t know how you are going to make it if your spouse loses their job, it causes stress. High levels of stress in marriage is a recipe for disaster. Money fights are often cited as the number one cause of divorce. If couples can get this part of their marriage straight, it will provide a huge step towards a long, happy marriage. The most important ingredient for a couple to reduce stress in finances is to get on a budget. A budget will tell you if you have enough money to buy something. It will take you from wondering where your money is going to you being in control of where it is spent (or saved).
I would love to hear your feedback. There are, perhaps, hundreds of good reasons to do a budget. Let us know what your thoughts are. Also, maybe there are good reasons not to do a budget, I would love to hear those as well.
Even if you are naturally thrifty, a budget can get you even more organized and leave you with even more extra cash to save or invest…or splurge on that special thing you just can’t get yourself to make room for in the budget. 😉
Matt Jabs says
Well said Emily, budgeting will help even the tightest miser squeeze out more money. 🙂
Kevin Yu says
Budget plans are great, but I think keeping a spending journal is more important. You would be surprised at how much you spend on little things (gum, coffee, chips, cigarettes, etc.) Do this for a month, and then figure out a budget. In doing so, you’ll be able to cut out all the unnecessary expenses!
Matt Jabs says
I’m a big fan and proponent of spending journals too Kevin – as I am of budgets… they’re both very helpful and necessary.
Mike Young says
I agree too Kevin. That is a great first step to “open your eyes”.