How to Get Control of Your Money Without a Budget

Budget - man walking a dog made of money

Budget is a bad word

In my experience, budget is a bad word. Budgets seem restrictive, almost a punishment. In fact, many young couples hate the idea of budgeting. While mentoring couples preparing for marriage, I asked them to prepare a monthly budget and bring it to our next meeting. That request was always met with groans and unhappy faces. And many of the couples didn’t even complete the assignment.

Budgets are soon forgotten

Budgets are like New Year’s resolutions. You resolve to get your finances under control. So, you make a budget with good intentions of following through. Unfortunately, most people create a budget and never look at for more than a month or two.

In fact, that’s exactly what my spouse and I used to do. Every New Year’s Day we would sit down with last year’s budget (if we could find it) and create another one for the new year. We both resolved to stick to our shiny new budget. By February, all was forgotten.

Budgets don’t help you accomplish goals

I’ve made budgets all my adult life. My first attempts were a simple list on notebook paper. Next, I advanced to spreadsheets. (I confess – I’m a spreadsheet geek.) I’ve even tried to create a budget with various money management software programs.

But for one reason or another, the budgets were not working. I was still overspending. I’d forget how much money I had budgeted for certain expenses. I guess I figured that if money was going into the retirement account, bills were getting paid on time and I could pay the credit card bill in full each month, I was doing fine.

The problem with that approach is that I wasn’t budgeting for the things I really wanted. Such as saving up for a new dining room set or going on a family vacation. The money ran out before I could accomplish those goals. Sure, I wasn’t spending more money than I made. But I also wasn’t spending my money on things that really mattered to me and improved my life.

Create a money plan instead of a budget

Because I was disappointed with my results from other budgeting products, I set out to create one of my own. But rather than create just another budgeting tool, I decided to create a money plan. A money plan is proactive. With a money plan, you decide how you are going to spend your money, based on what’s most important to you. The focus is on planned spending to help you accomplish money related goals instead of restrictive budgeting.

I think that a money plan versus a budget is more that semantics. A money plan opens possibilities, as opposed to restricting you. A money plan is a mindset of using your money to help you enjoy a better life.

The EzTrackR Money Tool™

My new money plan is called the EzTrackR Money Tool™. The EzTrackR Money Tool™ has really helped me use my money to achieve my goals and keep my spending on track. In fact, I use it every week.

The EzTrackR Money Tool™ is included in the Hire Your Money® course. It’s easy to use and will help you keep on track with your spending and savings. The features are:

  • Interview format for creating the plan
  • Ability to customize category names
  • Plan amounts can be entered as weekly, monthly or yearly
  • No math or calculator is needed
  • Track your actual spending each month
  • Visual cues to let you know if you are over or under planned spending amount
  • Yearly summary page

Conclusion

Traditional budgets don’t work. What you need is money plan. Budgets focus on limiting you, while a money plan helps you achieve goals.

By the way, if you’d like to learn more about everyday money matters, consider the Hire Your Money® course. It is a cutting edge, cloud-based interactive course that empowers young people to take command of their money lives. You will be able to access the course on your favorite internet-enabled device. No reading required. Included are presentations about must-know money topics, videos, and downloadable money tools.

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Johnson

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