Question of the Day: Why Can’t We Stick To Budgets?

I asked students today the best financial advice they had ever received and one student said simply:  “Do not spend more money than you have.”  Pretty simple advice yes, but think about how many financial crises derive from those not following this advice (think credit card debt).  So, my question back to him was “that’s great advice but how come most people can’t follow it?”  Well now we have an answer from USA Today (well, actually three answers) on why we can’t stick to a budget:

  1. There’s not enough money coming into the household.
  2. Expenses may be higher than you think..and something always comes up (the dreaded one-time expense that you discover recurs month after month).
  3. Your budget requires more attention than it is receiving.  I am guilty of this one.  It only takes a month or two of spending more than my budget to get discouraged and lose track of my budget or not want to see how I am performing vs. budget.

This article presents a good opportunity to ask students if they currently budget and if not, the reasons why.


Check out NGPF’s Budgeting Basics Lesson to learn the fundamentals of budgeting.