The Mythical Budget

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: May 3, 2019

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If you’re like me, you’ve uttered the phrase “it’s not in the budget” a time or two in your life. But, where is this all-knowing budget you speak of? Have you actually taken the time to create one? Technically, is anything “in the budget,” if the budget doesn’t exist?

I spent years trying and failing at budgeting, before I finally got it right. I tried everything from hand written budgets, to plug and play spreadsheets that did all the math for me. Yet, no matter how simple the process, I never stuck with it.

Like most people, I considered budgeting a 2-step process. Step 1: Make a budget. Step 2: Stick to the budget. It’s that simple, right? Come to think of it, maybe everything is that easy…

Want to lose weight and stay thin? It’s easy. Step 1: Lose weight. Step 2: Keep the weight off.

Want to be a successful entrepreneur? It’s easy. Step 1: Start a business. Step 2: Succeed.

Want to buy a house? It’s easy. Step 1: Find a house. Step 2: Buy it.

We all know it isn’t that easy. Yet for some reason, we expect it to be. We forget about the human element, and that we aren’t just robots, uninfluenced by emotion and desire. For instance, if a robot found itself in the tool section of Home Depot, it would just, NOT buy tools. I however, have a single car garage filled with woodworking equipment. Human Element: 1, Budget: 0.

Like any habit or skill worth pursuing, budgeting takes motivation, resolve, practice, consistency and enjoyment. It’s more than just a bunch of numbers plugged into a spreadsheet. It’s a series of daily choices; a habit; a way of life. But before it can be any of those things, it must first, exist.

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Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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