The more I read about budgeting, the more I realize that it is far from being rocket science. It is plain common sense. So the question that I’m asking myself is why do so many people have trouble applying such a simple concept in their everyday life?
The analogy that comes to my mind when thinking about personal finance management and budgeting is dieting… food dieting that is! They’re so similar in concept:
- If you want to lose weight, calories out have to be greater than calories in
- If you want to accumulate wealth, money in has to be greater than money out
- You have to be aware of what you’re eating, how many calories each meal/snack contains and how many calories you are burning. Without this awareness, it’s much harder for you to compare your intake and outtake.
- With money, you have to be aware of how much you’re spending, what you’re spending on, and how much you are making (NET!). Without these figures, it’s hard to pinpoint where the problems lie and why you’re not accumulating wealth.
- With food, there are fatty and unhealthy temptations at every corner, so you over-consume calories.
- With money, there are temptations that marketers and retailers create for you, so you start believing that you can’t live without them if you don’t have them…. So you over-consume “stuff”
- People tend to get motivated at the beginning of the year to lose weight, but as the year goes by, they slip back into their old habits. This is what makes it so hard for people to lose weight.
- With money, many of us decide that we are going to take charge of our finances and be in control of the situation, but we do it for a couple of months, then revert back to our old habits.
Do you see the striking resemblance between losing weight and saving money? Come to think of it, it is probably no coincidence that we are an overweight AND over-indebted society. Both problems have the same source… lack of awareness, available temptations and short-lived motivation to take care of the situation.
Fortunately there’s a solution to both these issues. It’s called DISCIPLINE and CONSISTENCY.