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Welcome to our new series: Why We Don’t Save – a breakdown of the six most common reasons people put off starting their financial journey.

Are they legit? Do you feel personally attacked? Stay tuned for a new post in this series every month!

We’ve all heard it. Some days it feels like the hits keep coming, just one thing after another. A pipe burst, the dog needs surgery, you get invited to an impromptu wedding. It’s always something.

Wait, always?

“I want to start my budget, but things have been crazy. I’ll do it next month, when things are finally normal."
-You, every month.

What you’re really saying is, “I’ll never start a budget.”

There is no “normal”.

If you’re waiting for everything to settle down before starting on your finances, you’re going to be waiting a long time. In my experience, life doesn’t get simpler over time – it only gets more complicated.

One month you may need to replace your toaster, and the next you might decide to splurge on a new pair of shoes.

Just because these things don’t happen every month doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in your budget. In fact, your idea of a "normal" month might only apply to 1-2 months of the year!

Since every month brings a unique set of challenges, you’ll be cheating yourself out of making an effective financial plan.

You need to prepare for the abnormal, too.

A preoccupation with “normal” months could actively keep you from properly preparing for those unexpected things. And a lot of them aren’t really unexpected.

For example…

Did you know Christmas happens on the same day every year?

And for the love of God, don’t think you have to wait until the first of the month to start a budget. You can (and should!) start with the expenses you have to pay now, with the money you have now.

But before you take all the blame…

Why are we so obsessed with stable, monthly expenses – and why do we pretend the unexpected will never happen?


Many of the top budget tutorials on the internet do emphasize that every month may bring different expenses. But if you simply download a budgeting template and try to fill it out, you may be missing the bigger picture.

A template just can't include every type of expense you may need to prepare for. And with the proliferation of budgeting templates across the internet, the focus on fixed monthly spending is strong.

Futhermore, most schools don’t teach financial education, least of all budgeting. It’s no surprise that people think budgets exclusively apply to stable, fixed, every-month expenses.

Does financial education work? It depends.
Even if you did have financial literacy training in school, it may not have made a difference.

The most comprehensive meta-analysis of financial-literacy program evaluations, published in the journal Management Science in 2013, examined 168 papers covering more than 200 studies. It found that financial-literacy education was responsible for a 0.1 percent change in financial behaviors, like increased savings or reduced borrowing.(Washington Post)

Teaching a child about compound interest doesn’t always translate to an adult who understands their monthly mortgage payments. Especially when factors like more costly education/rent/health insurance and stagnating wages have changed the financial landscape.

So what should you do?

If you find yourself waiting for the mythical “normal” month, the solution is simple.

Stop waiting.

Start your budget today. Right now. And embrace the messy nature of your spending.

If you can think of some irregular expenses to start saving for – such as holidays, vacations, or large bills – make a category for them!

When you first start budgeting, you may not be able to think of all the bills coming down the road. But as they happen throughout the year, you’ll be able to add new categories as needed and rework your budget to fit them.
How To Save Up For Large Expenses

Have you heard this excuse in the wild? Still waiting for Godot normal? You know what to do!