You work hard, and you want confidence that you’re doing the best you can with your money — to move from “I’m probably fine” to actually progressing towards financial freedom. ⁣

If you feel stuck and don’t know how to move from “I’m fine-ish” (I’ll just avoid it until there’s a crisis) to “I’ve got this!” (actively achieving your goals), you’re not alone.

Every day I hear from individuals and couples who feel like they’re missing opportunities and not doing the best they can with their money. They’ve tried budgeting but they get discouraged when they continue to struggle with saving, paying off debt and/or overspending.

If that’s you, consider these three common problems you may be facing with your budget:

1) You’re trying to follow a budget because you “should.”

I often hear: “I should be saving more money. I should be paying off debt. I shouldn’t be spending so much.”

Let me be 100% clear: SHOULD will never carry the day when it comes to budgeting or managing your finances. And, when you use the word should (unwittingly) against your spouse, their defenses go up and it can lead to arguments.

Should is never a compelling why for ANYONE. It comes from a place of comparison – to your past self, maybe, but often comparisons to others. If you’re trying to follow a budget because you *should,* it’s time to rethink your motivation.

2) You haven’t created a compelling WHY.

You may be spending time “shoulding” on yourself (see #1), or perhaps you haven’t gotten clear on your WHY behind budgeting – what it will make available in your life.

In other words, what do you really want that a budget will help make possible for you? A feeling (ease), an experience (travel), a possession (new house)? You can wing it financially, but creating a budget gives you a plan to actually make things happen.

I promise that it will pay off to go deep to determine a WHY that lights you up!

If you’re married, you may assume that your why for doing something is similar to your spouse’s, but I encourage you to ASSUME less and LEARN more about your spouse’s perspective.

When you have chosen a compelling why (to pay off debt so you can start saving more for retirement, to reduce your time at work so you have more time with your family, to buy a new house or to start a business), it will make creating and sticking to a budget so much easier (and more fun!!).

3) You budget in one month increments.

Typical budgets only focus on your income and expenses for one month. However, you don’t live your life in one month increments, so why do you manage your finances one month at a time?

You need your budget to do a much better job at connecting your everyday financial choices with your short, medium and long term goals. You need to be able to SEE the impact of the everyday financial choices you’re making on your future plans.

Create a budget that provides an expansive view – if you cut cable tv for 6 months, you will have saved enough to take a long weekend away, for example. This will provide motivation for the changes that you’re considering (or, your spouse may be suggesting). If you don’t see (and desire!) the longer term benefits of making daily financial changes, you will lose interest really quickly!

Remember: 1) Let go of should, 2) Determine a compelling why, and 3) create a budget that connects your everyday financial choices with your longer term goals.

You’ve got this!!

Are you ready to take your budget from surviving to thriving? If so, access my free budgeting video: 3 Simple Steps to Uplevel Your Budget! You can also read my related money mindset post from April.