Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why Do People Hate the Word 'Budget'?

I've been trying to figure this out. The word "budget" seems to be one of those heavy words, full of negative connotations for many many people. Why is that? It's just a word. It doesn't have any more power than you give it.

What's So Bad About a Budget?
Where does this strong reaction to the word budget come from? Is it because of early life experiences and imprinting from parents who were stressed out about money? Does it make you think of disappointment, deprivation, and squashed dreams? Does it make you think you are poor? Does it make you afraid of money?

Why I Love Budgets
I love having a budget. It's my map, my plan, my path to my dreams. It reminds me that I want something bigger than the little impulses that pop up during the day. It puts me in control of my destiny. My budget removes the fear that I do not have enough. With my budget I can see clearly that I do have enough to pay my bills and buy the things I need. If it looks like I don't have enough in one category then I can move numbers around until it works. And in the extreme cases where there really isn't enough money coming in... then my budget points it out and I can start taking steps to increase my income. That makes me feel powerful, not poor.

Focus on the Positive
I think people often use their distaste for the word budget as an excuse to avoid dealing with the reality of their situation. So if the word is turning you off, change your attitude towards it. Figure out what unpleasant images and feelings it brings up for you and compare them to what the word actually means. My description of why I love my budget is the polar opposite of why I think people hate budgets. The same word brings up exactly the opposite feelings for me.

A quick-fix short term solution is to give it another name that doesn't bring up the same feelings of dread. But don't be fooled, you will eventually have to look those scary feelings in the eye and tell 'em to scram. There, add that to the list of courageous things one has to do on the path to financial freedom.

Whether you call it budget, spending plan, cash flow plan, goal, or even Frank, ultimately we're talking about being aware of the money that flows through our hands and consciously directing that flow. We're talking about living on purpose.


Frugalchick said...

I'm one of those people who hates the word 'budget' which seems to me is very much related to 'diet'. I like your idea of renaming it something else. Maybe I'll call mine as the the Prison Break plan. Only because I like the show and I'm not feeling too original right now. Great post!

budgetsaresexy said...

Aw man, i totally 100% heart budgets like woah! The word itself isn't all that exciting, but in all reality they are super sexy. Check it:

Budgets = Confidence = Sexy!

So i applaud you, moneychallenge, for bringing the good word to the front lines :)

emilyg said...

I agree with frugalchick -- people see a budget as a diet -- something that restricts your freedom. But if you in fact stick to a budget, it helps you maintain financial freedom. Ironic, eh? And budgets can be different for everyone. I don't always plan mine way out ahead of time, but I do make sure to set aside savings immediately after getting my paycheck, and I often divide what's left in my checking account by how many days of the month are left to see the maximum amount I can spend per day. Those two methods really help.

Kaiser Villaviciencio said...

Keeping a budget is quite fun for me. I think it's a matter of positive thinking when it comes to financial endeavors. Thing is, there are tons of resources anyone can use. Cutting off the wants is one way of maximizing all the income. If your budget is short and there's an unexpected bill, try borrowing money.