The Anti-Budget Myth
So I have been reading a lot lately from finance bloggers that talk about budgets, how nobody wants to budget and how the newest trend out there that will totally change your world is the “anti-budget”. So I can agree on one thing with all these bloggers. Budgets do suck.
They are telling the truth. Nobody wants to sit down and make a budget. Budgets are difficult to make because no matter how hard you try, you’re always going to forget some expenses. Budgets can also be frustrating. Let’s face it. At the end of budgeting, you are going to have figured out how much money you don’t have. That’s not a very good way to start something positive and trying to make yourself a better person by being financially secure. And perhaps most importantly, making a budget is mind-numbingly boring. It’s not a sexy activity. Bloggers that write about finance even admit that they don’t like and/or believe in making budgets. Basically, unless you are someone that totally likes to geek out on finances, budgeting just isn’t for you.
As with all things in life though, just because a pendulum has swung one way, does not mean that the correct answer lies on the opposite end of the pendulum. Such is the case with budgeting. I keep reading more and more about the “anti-budget” and honestly, it seems just as bad (for different reasons) than traditional budgeting. Before we go into why I think the anti-budget is a myth, let’s first discuss what it is.
According to Money Crashers, here are the steps involved in the anti-budget: 1) Choose 3-5 categories, including a goal category like “savings.” 2) After the month has ended, calculate the percentage of your income that was spent on each of those categories and if you met your goals for the month. Decide whether any of the category percentages strike you as being too high or too low. Do you need to make adjustments? 3) Repeat the process next month. When you achieve your goals, continue setting more challenging goals.
This isn’t anti-anything. It’s simply a more streamlined, step by step way of maintaining a traditional budget.
This got me thinking. Being that this is the “anti”, I started wondering if there was a general consensus of what in fact an anti-budget was. Not surprisingly, I found there wasn’t. One blog suggests that the anti-budget is saving 20% of your earnings, right off the top in the very beginning. From there, you can spend the remaining 80% of your available funds on anything you want, with reckless abandon.
Another site featured a PDF that explains a calculation where first you figure out your monthly nut (core expenses, plus savings, retirement and emergency fund), and then you deduct that from your take home pay. The remaining balance is yours to do whatever you want with. I don’t know about you, but while that seems way safer than taking 80% of your money and doing whatever you want with it, it still to me that sounds an awful lot like a traditional budget as well.
I went to website after website that claimed to hold the secret to this mythical “anti-budget” that was supposed to free you from your financial chains and make life easier than you ever thought possible. Every site fell into the two categories I’ve described above. They were almost criminally laissez-faire about the ways you should control your money or were simply splitting traditional budgeting into smaller baby steps, tricking you into the illusion of something easy.
There Has To Be A Better Way…Right?
Fortunately for all of us, there is a better way. Imagine being able to set up a budget, seamlessly and easily, as you went about your day? Imagine being able to instantly categorize each thing you purchase, having your smartphone automatically build your budget FOR YOU, making it so you never have to sit at your kitchen table for hours on a weekend trying to figure out how in the heck to get all your expenses together and form a budget? Imagine being able at anytime to glance at your phone and in a matter of one to two seconds know immediately if you can afford whatever thing it is you are contemplating spending money on? This is why we built the Build App.
The Build App is blessedly simple because it allows you to look at your daily budget. As you earn money from salary, freelance work or side gigs, you can enter that into the app. Your available amount of money to spend will instantly update. Then, as you make purchases, you can enter those expenses in, and the app will automatically spread those expenses across the month, keeping your budget and any other budgeting items you’ve entered into the app in check, while at the same time making sure you are saving money along the way.
Fight the suck. Download The Build App today and you’ll quickly see how you can empower yourself to take control of your budget, save more money and reach your goals more easily than you ever imagined possible.