Budgeting ALL of the time, not just SOME of the time


So it’s the end of the month, you have been living on bread and water for the past few days and you just can’t wait for payday to come. It finally arrives and you feel so excited at the prospect of having money to spend that you treat yourself to a meal out, a spa day and goodness knows what else just to get over the tough week that you’ve had. Then guess what, next week arrives and you find that your bank balance is looking severely depleted again.

Sound familiar? If it does then perhaps it is time to start reviewing how you budget your cash and start budgeting all of the time and not just some of the time. Many people are quite good at budgeting when they are forced into it through financial stress. If a person was to budget all of the time rather than just in times of financial stress though, then often these times of financial stress would not need to occur in the first place. It is true that you will not have any more money to spend, but it’s amazing how much further our money seems to go when we make budgeting and frugal living a day to day activity, not just something that occurs when it is forced upon us through circumstance.

Budgeting ALL of the Time

Even if things are genuinely financially tight, if we make the effort to develop balance in our spending habits it will almost certainly go some way to relieving the stress of the situation. As tempting as it can be to get a little giddy with your spending when you finally have some money to spend, if this kind of spending is leaving you feeling penniless and stressed at the end of every month then would it not be better to sit down before your next payday and work out exactly where your money needs to go over the next month? To use some random figures as an example, if you have say $2000 in cash to last you until the end of the month and you work out that $1800 of that money needs to go towards covering your bills, then you will know that you have $200 to spend or save as you wish. You could allow yourself $50 a week for discretionary spending or perhaps you’ll decide you can survive with less each week and put a little into your emergency fund.

Budgeting SOME of the time

What many people tend to do is to watch that $2000 go into their account and after feeling so poor for so long they all of a sudden feel rich. It’s like they’ve just won the lottery or something. They then decide they need to treat themselves to something nice to ‘de-stress’ after their financial ordeal and they go on a bit of a binge. Then, when they find themselves enduring another financial ordeal at exactly the same time next month, the whole cycle begins again.

Being Realistic

Really then, as boring as it may sound it is better to be realistic. We all deserve a treat now and then but the size and cost of those treats should be relative to what we can afford and they should come when we can afford them. If you are able to develop balance in life when it comes to spending then you will likely find that the inner feeling of satisfaction and control you will attain from having a handle on your finances will far outweigh any treat you can buy for yourself, even better it will also allow you to exit the financial roller coaster that has had you as a passenger for too long.

9 Responses to Budgeting ALL of the time, not just SOME of the time

  1. Living from paycheck-to-paycheck for several years just made me not want to that much more. Once I was able to budget correctly and save, I have not been in that position for several years. Looking back, it’s even hard to understand why many folks I know, put themselves in a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. It’s not because they need the money to pay off bills or debt but that they simply use it as gift card.

    • Adam Buller says:

      It’s not a great position to be in is it Scott, especially not when some simple changes can improve the situation.

  2. I admittedly did SOME of the time budgeting in the not-so-distant past, often going on some kind of a binge when I feel like doing some ME time thinking I owe it to myself. But as I learned more and more from reading personal finance blogs, I am now more into ALL the time budgeting. Slowly but hopefully surely, I could work my way towards a well-balanced life especially where my finances are concerned.

    • Adam Buller says:

      It’s all about balance isn’t it Jen, learning to enjoy life and to give yourself the odd treat without going wild and ruining your finances for another month.

  3. kammi says:

    I feel like it’s MUCH easier to do the “all of the time” budgeting when you have money in your account. I’ve actually been in both situations; as a recent graduate I was trying but it was so dismal, because it was so easy to think “well, I have close to nothing in my account, so why not just spend it all anyways?”. With a real goal, it’s also much easier, particularly if it is a solid figure you can chip away at over time/ put money towards. Over time, the more you have, it serves as motivation to keep putting in more and more money. It’s like that whole ‘snowball’ concept, or what others say; money attracts more money. A lot of it is truly mental.

    • Adam Buller says:

      That’s a great point Kammi! If you can get to the stage where you have a decent sized chunk sat in your account then as you say, it makes you all the more determined to keep it and even to grow it.

  4. Oh, I know how this feels….having too much month left for your money. When my wife and I finally started budgeting 100% of the time, we found that it was much easier to not only make it to the next payday, but actually put money away for the future.

  5. I definitely agree with budgeting all of the time. Those expenses that we tend to think are little really add up when we don’t pay attention to them. I have been guilty of this in the past, so I speak for experience. If you want to “treat yourself”, just budget for it. Great post!

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