Why I Loathe Budgeting But Do It Anyway…

May 16, 2018




You might expect a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner, such as myself, to get totally amped about putting a budget together with my clients.  After all, Cash Flow Management it is a logical part of getting to know my client’s situation and is naturally addressed in the CFP® Board’s 6 step financial planning process. Budgeting seems an obvious domain of a comprehensive financial plan. But…the fact is…


… I personally LOATHE using a budget, budgeting, reviewing the budget, referring to the budget and all the feelings that go with even the word, budget.




The primary reason I don’t get all jazzed about the thought of creating a budget for myself has to do with my secondary Money Personality, The Spender. As a Spender, I am emotionally fueled by spending money and do it with joyful fervor, at times.  My spending activity ends up being in direct opposition to the nature of my primary Money Personality type, The Security Seeker.


As a Security Seeker, reviewing my budget and focusing on the cash in-flow and especially out- flow makes me feel tense and worried. Budgeting opens me up to buyer’s remorse and guilt trips, common hang-overs of The Spender.  Put these two personalities together and… cue the self- loathing and negative self-talk about what I should and could be doing with my money. This inner Money Personality dance-off reoccurs every time I approach my monthly cash flow and budget review.  I totally freak out The Security Seeker and fill The Spender with shame and guilt.


As a result, I generally avoid traditional budgeting like the plague and do it only when something has gotten really out of whack in my spending to earnings ratio.   The process allows me to realign with the meaningful short and long term goals that I’ve committed to in my own Financial Life Plan. My inspired goals are worth it to me.


I remind myself of a few important truths about why I budget:


My budget can be my best friend because it never lies to me.

Rather, it points to figures, reality and the facts. There is no guessing and no speculation about

  1.  Budgets, very simply, show what’s coming and what’s going and where it goes.  No lies. The straight-up truth. Any feelings about this are really a separate matter.


My budget keeps me accountable to differentiating between my WANTS and my NEEDS.

When I’m at the store with my 3 year old who has a serious case of the “gim-me’s”, I say to her, “Daphne, is that bug-eyed, giraffe stuffed toy something you WANT or something you NEED?”


…You remember this idea from your early years, right? Well, my inner child has maintained a

lifelong case of the gim-me’s and I have to remind myself constantly of what really matters and

what I actually need, or I get all tangled up in greed. Greed can be a habit of over-indulgence.

Budgeting can act as a practice around staying within the limits and engaging in self-regulation.


Budgeting is mostly about paying attention, counting my resources and bringing awareness to my financial situation.

Successful business owners know the numbers.  They track the numbers. This is how they build a business that thrives.   I think of my own financial life as my business. I have to know the numbers to make effective decisions for the business of my life and to ensure that my system stays in balance and is self-regulating… so that I may thrive.


Avoidance and fear make the unknown scarier than it really is.

Awareness is a step toward clarity; even with finances.  Often times, when I am avoiding or fearful to analyze my cash-flow situation, my mind conjures up scenarios and situations that are far worse than really is.  Taking the first steps to analyze my budget can be tough so I remind myself that cash-flow is like the breath; in… out…in…out. As if in meditation, I focus on the flow in an out, like the breath.


After All, I want to have healthy conversations with my spouse around money. I want to feel more confident and hopeful about my financial future. I want prosperity in my life. I focus on the flow of my breath as well as the flow of my cash. Like starting a meditation practice, some cash-flow awareness is better than none and much better than avoiding the unknown all together.


My dreams are worth it.

It is worth the grit and tenacity to stay committed to my inspired goals so that I can design a

future I can get really excited about. What I really, really, purposefully want in my life simply

matters more than the temporary annoyance of cash-flow awareness and budget management tasks.


I decided that I may not be alone in these feelings about budgeting. I’m dedicated to helping our clients tackle whatever it is that makes it hard to get started budgeting.  When you work with Team Duncan to design your Financial Life Plan, you have partners to help you knock out the task of creating the budget. Check. Done. We promise to make it as painless as possible for everyone involved. Yes, we’ll review it, revisit it annually and use it as a tool to stay in alignment with your inspired goals. We will use your budget as a tool to empower your financial future.


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