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4 Reasons People Quit Budgeting—and How to Avoid Them!

Hang in there. You might not love budgeting, yet, but there's still hope.

According to our website traffic over the last 10+ years, we can confirm with scientific accuracy that a lot more people consider, revisit and/or research budgeting in January than any other time of the year.

If you are one of them, allow us to save you some time and frustration. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people fall in love with what budgeting can do—give them total control of their money, eliminate money stress, and help them achieve goals they never thought possible.

There is really only one thing you must do to experience this budgeting nirvana—don’t quit. Luckily, we can help with that, too.

Here are the top four reasons why people quit budgeting (and how to overcome them):

1. You Fall Off of Your Plan

Unless you are a fortune teller or you’ve mastered the secrets of the time-space continuum, there is no way to predict exactly how any given month will go. Regardless of how well you budget, life will happen. Your circumstances or your priorities (or both!) will change, and you’ll need to adjust your budget.

This does not mean you’ve failed—in fact, quite the opposite. It means you’re actually budgeting!

Remember that your first budget is just a starting place. To get the most out of your money, you will move your dollars around, right and left, adjust your categories, and then do it all, again. This is budgeting. And you’re doing it exactly right. Go, you!

2. It’s Too Much Work

So, maybe budgeting is a new habit. And, yes, there is some learning curve there, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. In fact, once you get going, you can honestly get by with as little as 20 minutes a month to do all your budgeting.

Every time you get paid, you’ll ask yourself, “What does this money need to do before I get paid again?” It will take a few minutes to consider your priorities, like what’s coming down the pike and your current goals. Then you make a plan based on the information at hand. That’s it.

If you use an app like YNAB, you have full access to your budget from your phone, so there’s no excuses. You can budget anywhere! And it only takes a second to download and categorize transactions, or enter them as you spend. When your budget is up-to-date, you always have the information you need to make informed decisions.

Budgeting doesn’t need to be an arduous process, and you’ll only get better at it. Set up a framework, use it as a guide, and adjust as you go. Right now, you are likely expending more mental energy stressing about your money than it will require to budget it.

3. You’re Behind and Overwhelmed

If you stay connected to your budget, and spend just a few minutes with it every day or every couple days, there is never that much to do. Download and categorize a few transactions at a time. Check up on category balances. Allocate new dollars as they come in. Not a big deal.

On the other hand, if you don’t look at your budget for two months, and then you have five million transactions to sift through, you are going to feel overwhelmed and out of control (and probably decide that budgets don’t work).

Here’s a secret: Budgets only don’t work when you don’t use them.

Spend a couple minutes, every couple days, to stay close to your money and your budget. You’ll make better decisions. You’ll be less stressed. And quitting won’t even be on your radar.

4. You Just Want What You Want, Now

You want something. You consult your budget and your budget says, “No.”

You don’t like that answer, so you decide you don’t like budgets, and you remain stressed about money and stuck never getting ahead. But not everyone speaks Budget, yet, so let us help you translate. A “No” in Budget actually translates to “Not yet.”

The budget is a tool to help you put your money to work for you. If you want something, your budget’s job is to help you get it!

And it absolutely can, and will, help you get whatever it is you want—just possibly not tomorrow. It may require some waiting and some planning, but if you let it do its job, your budget will deliver every time.

It’s Time to Learn to Love Budgeting.

You don’t have to win the lottery to fix your finances, and you really don’t need to lurk on YNAB’s blog waiting for it all to finally click. Learn how to take control of your cash, get out of debt and finally realize the full power of a budget that’s completely personalized to your desires—drop into one of YNAB’s free, interactive, online workshops.

Hope in! They are easy to squeeze into your day, and we always leave time for questions from the attendees. Plus, they’re actually fun.

We’ll help you get started, and support you as you go. And, if countless YNABers are any indication, you’re going to love your budget!

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4 Reasons People Quit Budgeting—and How to Avoid Them!