Growing up I never really was taught how to budget my money. They don’t really teach you that in school. And honestly I did not really care about handling money anyways. I just wanted to get money, find stuff I wanted or liked, buy it and repeat. So when I became a grown up and started a family that trend was still repeating, but there was one thing wrong with that. It wasn’t going to work. I was going to drive my family into a whole of debt never to return. So after falling down what feels like a million times and learning from the same mistakes over and over I realized I had to change. So I started teaching myself. I started seeking the budget that would be it for me and our family. But the one thing I could say to anyone who was in that situation I was in is this, there is no perfect plan or way to manage money, just took me years to realize this.
I failed to budget because I was striving for the perfect way. What did this look like for me?
- I have never been able to stick to anything in my life. Perhaps because I hold myself to some high expectation that is nearly impossible to reach. I would talk to a friend and think I had found this great idea, THIS is the way I am going to manage our money now and IT will be perfect! Then it wouldn’t work. I would read a book or an article on budgeting or handling finances and again think…THIS is it! I just KNOW this will be the one.
- I failed many times. Like I can’t even count. It seems like some years it was failing daily on handling the finances and feeling like a failure. I had some deep determination within me though that kept making me feel like I couldn’t give up until I found the right plan. So I would press on. Again. Only to be let down with myself, again.
- There is not one budgeting plan that fits everyone. Not Mint, not YNAB (You Need a Budget), not Mvelopes…though those are all super great programs and may work for some people, but they didn’t work for me no matter how hard I tried to make them. Oh goodness I strived so hard to say THIS is the program I will make it work!!!! Ugh. I did find one and I will elaborate on that in another post for another day, but that is Calendar Budget if anyone wants to know. But guess what, that is not the only thing I use and that. is. OK. 🙂
- I finally learned after so many years, gosh it was probably 10-15 years of this above struggle, that there is no one budget that I had to find, live out and achieve. There wasn’t just one way to do this. I could learn what worked for our family, adapt certain things, take some things I was learning and use them if they helped. If I found something that didn’t quite fit, I started tossing it out…NOT trying to have that as an expectation to try harder to make that fit into our budget. Just letting it go. That part is still challenging to me, but I am learning.
So if you have been trying to budget, feeling stuck and find yourself comparing yourself to other people’s stories thinking yo have to fit into that mold to make your budget work, don’t do it. Let it go and start working on finding what tips from all of the sources you look at work best for YOUR family. Stop trying to find the perfect budget program or plan. Start somewhere. Live, learn, grow. You can do it!