I’m A Personal Finance Blogger And I Don’t Have A Budget!

I have a confession. I’m a personal finance blogger and I don’t have a budget! WHAT?!

You read that right, I don’t have a budget and believe it or not, not everyone needs a budget to make smart financial decisions.

Don’t get me wrong, though, we keep a very close eye on our finances and always know where we spend our money.

We have a pretty good idea of what expenditures are coming up, too.

To top that off, we spend significantly less than we earn which gives us plenty of buffer room to not have to budget.

So, if I don’t need a budget to be financially successful, why should other people have a budget?

I’m a bit weird because I love doing all of this personal finance stuff. Not everyone else keeps as close of an eye on their finances as I keep on mine.

Here are just a few people that, in my opinion, need a budget to succeed financially.

You Have Credit Card Debt

If you’re in credit card debt, you need a budget. Why? You need to work on extinguishing this toxic form of debt as quickly as possible. That means buckling down and attacking your debt with everything you have.

Come up with a strict, but manageable budget that allows you to survive, but pay off you debt quickly.

You Have A Spending Problem

People with a spending problem need a budget. These people are the least likely to give in and budget, but they’re likely some of the ones who need a budget the most.

Budgets don’t have to suck. Budgets can be fun. If you want to budget all of your money on clothes and booze, simply forgo living in a house and put your mortgage or rent money toward going out every Friday night.

However, if you prefer to live a more balanced life, budget going out a couple times a month in a more modest fashion and you should be able to afford the house at the same time.

You Have An Income Problem

Income problems can happen to anyone, but if you have an income problem you need a budget. Whether you are unemployed, underemployed or simply don’t have a solid income, a budget will help you keep your head above water until you take advantage of the next opportunity that comes your way.

Without a budget, you could easily spiral downward deep into debt. Once in debt, you can no longer take advantage of opportunities because you have to kill the debt again before going on to bigger and better things.

You Don’t Save For The Future

If you don’t save for the future, a budget should be a top priority. While you may be spending just as much as you earn, your finances could easily be ruined by one small event.

Budgeting will allow you to start saving by eliminating expenses that you didn’t even know existed. If you weren’t aware of these expenses, chances are they weren’t important either.

Everyone Who Wants A Budget

Even if you don’t fit in one of the above categories, if you want a budget you should have a budget. Budgets are great tools when used correctly. They don’t have to be suffocating and they can lead you to a bright financial future.

We don’t have a budget because we have a very good handle on our finances. Once you feel comfortable with your finances, you may want to drop your budget, too.

Just make sure you continue tracking your finances, reviewing your expenses and making adjustments as you realize some of your old budget categories are getting out of control.

Do you have a budget? Do you think everyone needs to have a budget? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I’m a personal finance nerd as well, and my husband is a retired accountant but we don’t have a budget in the purest sense of the word. We definitely track our expenses and have some spending ceilings on things like books and clothes, but otherwise things aren’t written down in hard and fast rules. For example, we have a spending goal for groceries but if we need milk at the end of the month and we’ve spent the allotment, well I certainly go get a jug of milk. And since utilities are variable, we always keep a reserve available in case using the air conditioning in the summer takes us over the allotment. We are fortunate that our income more than covers our expenses so every month, a good part of that income goes into saving and investment accounts so there is always a reserve ready if needed.

  2. We have a budget but it’s got a lot of wiggle room, it’s more to make sure that we’re hitting our targets in a big picture way versus trying to limit spending or anything severe.

  3. for the longest time in my plan to become a millionaire I didn’t have a budget either. Money came in and money was left over at the end of the month (which was subsequently invested). We simply lived below our means. When time came for me to start looking into early retirement (or long term sabbatical it may turn out) I did create a budget as we did need to cut down spending to make it possible. As much as we thought we lived below our means, as much as a nest egg we managed to build, we still managed to cut $20,000 out of out annual spending. A budget was a great tool in making that happen. We did get surprised about some of our spending habits only after a budget was put together. The reason my early retirement will most likely be no more than a long sabbatical is exactly because of our budget. Our budget is tells me that there simply isn’t enough to support our current way of life.

    I somewhat agree that budgets aren’t always necessary, especially when your doing financially fine. But even those that are financially fine still need an emergency fund. In those cases of emergency it would be good to also have a budget that can tell you exactly where you can and need to adapt, should you need to do so on the short term

    • Emergency funds are definitely important, and so is investing. You can pay yourself first without a budget to make sure you invest and limit your spending at the same time.

  4. I have a budget, BUT I didn’t follow it. I’m really working hard to be more consistent when it comes to budgeting.

  5. Obviously, we have a budget and I agree that not everyone is meant to budget because not everyone wants to and that’s ok. If someone is not in debt and is managing their money fine and are happy not budgeting that’s their choice. Personally, we’d still budget (like we do now with zero debt or mortgage) because we want to see numbers. I agree that people who are in debt or have spending issues should budget because you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know where the source of the problem is even if you already know it starts with “spending”. When we didn’t use a budget we saved money but when we started using a budget we saved “More” money. Numbers helped us get to where we needed go and hopefully will carry us through moving forward. Thanks for sharing this post.

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