I’m always sad when someone says to me that they feel like a failure when they break their budget. Just by it’s very nature, a budget is a self-defeating document that will most likely lead to failure.
You see most budgets are not based in truth, they are based in wishes. Here is how I would like to spend my money or here is how I think I remember spending my money is the approach most people take.
If you created a budget for yourself that you were not able to live by, I would not call you a failure, I’d say you were completely normal.
Let’s look at what a budget should be:
- A plan based in fact not guesses.
- A guide that accounts for unusual events and life surprises.
- A flexible guide to allow you to ‘estimate’ how your money will flow.
You will notice that none of those statements say anything about being set in stone or made up out of thin air. Call it what you will, a spending plan, a budget, or even a financial manifesto, it is all the same thing, a plan.
Before I get further into this I want to say one thing if you made a previous budget that you could not stick to and you felt you failed. So what? Failure is part of life and it’s not how many times you might not succeed that is important, it is how many times that you try.
So Let’s Just Take a Look At Famous Failure – Abraham Lincoln
- 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
- 1818: His mother died.
- 1831: Failed in business.
- 1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
- 1832: Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
- 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
- 1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
- 1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
- 1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
- 1840: Sought to become elector – defeated.
- 1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
- 1846: Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
- 1848: Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
- 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
- 1854: Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
- 1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
- 1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
- 1860: Elected president of the United States.
You only fail if you quit. What if Abraham Lincoln had given up when he failed? You feel like you budgeting attempts have failed you but it’s not the budget that has failed, it is the process you are following.
Before you can develop a good plan on how to get your life to live within your money you really need to know how you spend your money, all your money, And from that good data, you can make good choices about what to cur back or eliminate to achieve your financial goals.
I like to call this document a spending plan, rather than a budget. You can read more about how to develop your personal spending plan and tools you can use to do that by clicking here.
Using this spending plan approach based in fact rather than a budget approach based in wishes, you will be able to get your money under control, develop financial clarity and have a much better chance of achieving your financial goals.