The downside of budgeting

May 15, 2013

Well did the title strike your attention? You definitely read it correctly; I am positive there is a downside to budgeting. I know I sound like a crazy person right now but hear me out! Throughout this whole process, I have changed a lot about my spending habits and learned to cut certain things out, which hasn't been a problem. However, if you take budgeting to an extreme, it can actually have a negative impact on your life.

I read something recently that talked about how budgeting can put a damper on your life in ways that you might not realize.  The things it talked about I actually resonated with me as I've experienced a lot of them.. When you first start out budgeting, or just trying to save money, some people take things to extremes. You NEVER go out to eat, you NEVER go to a movie, you NEVER buy that shirt that your desperately need, and you never see your friends.  Because as we all know, friends = money! So, where is the line? When do you start sacrificing your happiness and personal life for money?  Some people learn the hard way, as I have in the past.  

Budgeting to such an extreme can lead to binge shopping, binge eating, as well as ruining relationships in your life. Sounds harsh I know, but I've seen it happen.  Don't get mad quite yet, I definitely understand you can see friends without spending money. There are just a lot more triggers to spend money when other people are around, understandably.

Once you start budgeting and it actually makes you unhappy, or makes you miss important people and events in your life, then it's gone to far.  You have to just start small and work from there.  Create a realistic budget that doesn't fully stop you from doing things you enjoy, it will just be an adjusted version. Don't stop going to see movies with friends, just go less often and maybe suggest going for a walk or a bike ride one day instead.  You get a lot more quality time walking or biking then you do in a movie theater anyways. 

Do you think budgeting can be taken too far?


  1. There's a $250/month budget out there that seems to work.

  2. For 3 years, I've set up this fancy new budget in excel with the goal of tracking everything, and for 3 years that's lasted about 2 weeks. Unfortunately, my spending is too all over the place to truly stick to a budget.

    I've found that tracking my spending (with an app) has been much more realistic. I can quickly see that I've spend a lot on clothing, for example, this month, and that's enough to deter me from buying more.

    Maybe once I get the hang of this better I'll try setting a budget again, but for now I know there's no point.

  3. this is fantastically put - budgeting is like a diet for your wallet, and we all know extreme dieting is bound to fail !

    moderation is key for sure, i try to have it in my goal when i do go out to eat with friends, pick ONE focus instead of all. have a glass of wine and share an appetizer. or stick with waters and enjoy a meal, ask for the specials of the night, make coffee at home and go for a walk now that its summer. split a bottle of wine and chill on the deck vs patio drinking.

    lots of ways to spend little money but still entertain and have quality friend time in.

    great post, perfect for start of summer and keeping active with happy wallets!!