Really Strange Budgeting Question

Updated on August 10, 2011
K.R. asks from Petersburg, IL
17 answers

Has there been anyone who has followed a super strict budget plan and regretted it? I know this sounds like a strange question, but I am just curious if there are any of you who have followed a strict budget with the idea of getting out of debt and regretted it for whatever reason. I always hear how worth it it will be to suffer for the next 5-10 years and that it will pay off, I just am curious if others feel differently or have had some other experience.

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Wow. What great answers ladies. Thank you so much.

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answers from St. Louis on

Have I, no, common sense kicked in. Too strict a budget is like starvation dieting. You can save money/lose weight quickly but you suffer so much that you binge after a short while.

Moderation is key to having a budget you can stick to and live with.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

We're on a very strict budget, which makes ME (and the people I pay bills to) very happy, but my husband is waaaay more loose with money, so we argue over pennies, literally. That's the only downside. If you're both on the same page, I say go for it!! The pay off is huge!! (or my husband would say, you only live once, spend it)... we're polar opposites when it comes to dollar signs ;)

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Cleveland on

wow, I follow a tight budget, but in no way could i go 10 years sacrificing everything just to say, own my home outright. It's not worth it. Sure it's a great thought, and I think that if you can do it in a couple of years while still having some luxuries, that's a great plan, but what happens if I die in a car accident tomorrow and I've been miserable for 9.5 years trying to get out of debt?! A good budget allows you to go out to dinner, once every few months, or to buy that bubble bath you love (and fill the tub) or a candy bar when you're at the store, small simple pleasures to keep you sain while you pay off your debt. Although if you live within your means and don't take on a lot of extra debt (car and house IMO are NORMAL debt for a working family) then you shouldn't have to budget even as strictly as I just mentioned.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Anything that's worth spending money on (to me) is included in my budget. So, if a vacation is worth spending for, I budget strictly for it. If paying off a credit card is worth spending for, I budget strictly for it.

A budget is nothing more than a plan. You make the plan fit your life. If you can't fit your life into your budget (assuming a reasonable income), it's time to reevaluate priorities.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When my second husband and I married, we had the opportunity to built a home on a beautiful piece of land that a family member made available to us for cheap. We designed a small cottage that would serve our needs, lived in a garage for 2.5 years as we purchased one load of lumber at a time to proceed with our plans. Every penny that wasn't essential for basic food, clothes, or transportation went into the house. It was a wonderful time. We had a dream we were working toward, we were young and healthy, I had a teenage daughter who was a delight, and we did very well living simply.

Ever since we finished that project, we have still had to live very simply on a very tight budget. But this allows us to do the work we love and were made for, developing and publishing creative educational activities for the little non-profit publishing house my husband established just before I met him. We take great pleasure in our work, and so the small salaries don't really seem important.

And there can be tremendous pleasure in simplicity itself. If I'm not telling myself constantly that I'm being deprived of life's luxuries, then I notice and enjoy the beauty, kindness and love that is available everywhere for free.

Now, if I were doing work I find grinding and pointless, with people I don't enjoy and admire, in a heartless or ugly environment, then I don't think I'd be happy living on so little. But if I can live my dreams, or at least experience a good hunk of satisfaction with my everyday life, then money becomes far less necessary, and budgeting to keep that possible becomes a pretty simple proposition.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Glens Falls on

Well, if you were on a budget 5 to 10 years ago would you feel better today? I think it's a matter of risk/reward. I was so poor growing up that I probably have been overly prudent as an adult. It's a good feeling for me to be relatively "safe" (of course no one's 100% safe) because I was never safe growing up. But there are small things I regret like wishing I wasn't so tight fisted about spending money on family times. I don't regret foregoing any material things. So I say if you're going to loosen up a little - do it on experiences, not things. That's the highest reward for the risk.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have regretted not purchasing something or not going anywhere, in the name of budgeting. For instance, Everyone else in my office has gone on vacation this summer. I have not. I have put all my pay into bills, food, gas, etc. You know what? The world would not have stopped had I just said screw it and taken $400 to go somewhere. Still would've been buying food and gas, just in a differant zip code! And where is that $400 now? No idea. It just gets leached into the daily expenses. So, I'm no better off, I don't have anything to show for the money, and I didn't go anywhere. Yeah, I regret being so strict with my family budget. Yes, we made all our bills with a little wiggle room to spare, but at what cost?.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yes I did but it was more because of proving a point to myself & my mother.
I grew up extremely poor & my mom had absolutely no motivation to improve her life for herself or her kids. So I vowed to *show* her you can raise yourself out of poverty.

I wasn't necessarily on a budget to pay off bills because I didn't have anything outside of rent, daycare,car, food, utilities, the basics. But I put myself on a strict budget of not enjoying any other pleasures other than saving money.

I saved for several years straight to build me & my daughter a home. I never had a home growing up, I was bounced around a lot. I vowed that my daughter would grow up in a place she could call home.

When I was 21 I put a contract down with a hefty deposit to build my 1st home. My 22nd birthday present was to myself finally living in my 1st home. I don't regret it, because this was very *personal* to me. It's not for everyone & I can see both sides of 'what if I die' & 'if it takes 10 years so be it'. You have to decide what works for you. Best of luck

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Budgeting ought to reflect your goals. And one ought to have well thought-out goals that reflect your values.

In principle, any kind of suffering for 5-10 years is not bad, or a poor decision, if it is to achieve a goal and is rooted in your values. It is not wise, however, to just do something because someone tells you it is good thing to do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

The "strictness" of the budget is directly proportional to the rate of payoff.
The stricter the budget, the faster you'll be debt free.
But -- You've gotta be able to live with the budget and allow for some reasonable variance.
I can't imagine a situation where paying off debt would ever turn out to be a "bad" thing though. After all, what are the alternatives?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We are on a VERY strict budget, but it's not because of debt. Our house started falling apart and we have to get this stuff fixed. We are on the budget to avoid major debt. I think of how big the debt must be, for it to take 10 years of an extremely tight budget. If a budget isn't done, the interest on it will cause the debt to be massive. What choice is there? (I'm not talking about your specific situation, just about debt in general.)

I don't regret out budget, that we've been on for a year. No, we have not taken vacations, or had a lot of extra fun. Doing those would have caused debt (for many people, it furthers debt. If someone has massive debt, I can guarantee they can't afford a vacation.) I would rather wait a few years and take a vacation truly stress free, where I don't have to worry about the financial consequences of that decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have followed a relatively super strict budget plan for the most of my life and definitely for 5 yrs of my marriage, but it's not due to debt. We have no debt, other than our mortgage and that's really small, because we kept a tight budget. Our work has never been steady and so everything has to stay super simple so we have some savings to supplement unemployment. Currently we've had good money for 3 yrs - I'm FT contractor and his business is starting to take off, but we never know as I have lost my contract 2 times already and it's usually less than a year. So we stay on this strict budget, but it's hard and gets depressing at times to not have money to go out to eat or treat yourself at all. I do believe that it's worth it though I love that I don't have the stress of any debt. But you have to have a mindset that it's going to be ok.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

WE followed it, it feels good after you are done, going thru is tough though. Give yourself a break once in a while, keeps you stay focussed. Also having someone else made you accountable helps too. Have a professional work with you, but don't be too hard on yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Ummm... not even bankruptcy (ch13 repayment plan) requires that you be miserable. The courts set aside money to make sure that you have living expenses on top of the basics.

IMHO... ANYTHING that requires you to be miserable needs to be a 'no other option' option, or it needs to be rethought from the ground up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I hope not! My hubby and I are on the same path. I am using the Dave Ramsey book for my basic outline. But my husband and I both agreed on a "small" splurge each year with our tax return. This year we spent $1000 and got a new couch and repainted the living room and kitchen. It was just enough to make me say,ahh I can do this! And not feel totally deprived and jealous of all my friends clothes shopping and fancy vacations! Next year we might do new linoleum in the kitchen or my husband really wants a new tv (of course!). For us its just enough of a treat to keep us going. We haven't used the credit cards in two and half years and counting and we have probably another three to five years to eliminate them and our student loans. So maybe setting aside some "splurge" money every year might help, it works for us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think there has to be a balance. If you're on such a strict budget that you don't get to go and do anything fun as a family (this includes simple things like going out to eat once in a while or go to a some are on such strict budgets that there isn't even money for this), then that is too strict for me...if done for 5-10 years. I get not going on a luxurious vacation. We haven't done that in years because we simply don't have the money for it.

I've mentioned it before, but my daughter has a fatal disease. She is in severe bone marrow failure, and even after a bone marrow transplant, she'll develop cancer (very aggressive) and will die from that. It's simply the fact of what she has. We've been into Dave Ramsey and mostly follow his suggestions, but there are things that we have changed around for OUR situation because it's more important to us than making the BEST decisions with our money.

For an example, we want a new house. We moved into this one with one child. We had no idea if we were going to have more children or how many more we would have. Five years later, we have almost four more kids (baby #5 is due in about 6-7 weeks). We have three bedrooms. One for us and new baby, one for our current baby (13 months), and one for the other three. We have outgrown our house in our opinion especially in a few years when they are all older. We have 1 boy and 4 girls.

We know that ideally we should save six months worth of money to have in case of emergency, and that is still a goal. And we should save to put a big down payment down. And we should pay off all student loans (we'll have no other debt but that when we move). BUT we don't have time! Our daughter could develop leukemia at any time (AML, very severe type with incredibly low survival rate for kids like her). We need to do something soon.

Is it important to us to be as financially responsible as possible...or is it important to us to make sure we get into a house soon enough so that we have memories of our precious girl in our house with us? Hands down, we want memories of our daughter in our house. Healthwise anything could happen with her in the next year...we don't have time to do all the ideal money things. And, that's a choice we are making. We still budget and stick within in. We still try to be wise with our money while considering our emotional needs. But sometimes we choose to be wise in different ways...sometimes emotional needs are more important than financial. We are buying a house within our budget. So, we aren't being reckless that way. My husband's job is quite stable. Hopefully it'll stay that way! Everyone has their own situation and has to look at what is important for them. I think it's incredibly important to be financially stable and to be out of debt, but I don't think it's the MOST important thing. But if you can, I do think it's ideal to get out of debt. I think you can maybe do a slightly less strict budget so that you can still pay things off quickly, but that you can also have some money to enjoy life some while you're doing it. Dave Ramsey calls it blow money. Don't forget to do that while you are paying things off! :-) It'll make you more successful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

No one can guarantee or even guess where we will be in a week let alone a month or 5 years or more. Any of us could be in an accident and living in a convalescent home or we could be dead at any moment. We can make a plan and live as though we will be here. But we should spend more time and effort doing what's right and finding out how God intends for things to be.

I am in debt and that's not the ideal. But because I've tithed faithfully for years and cared about other peoples finances as much and sometimes even more than my own, God gives me EXACTLY what I need. I don't take vacations but I don't really need them. I buy enough books, music, and other small luxuries to want to be home and running my business. The way I see it, even if I had no debt at all, if I was in a car accident that robbed me of the opportunity to work I would go into debt because of medical bills that would far exceed anything I've ever created by using credit cards. So I might as well enjoy my life now.

I've maximized my income tax deductions legally and that has helped to pay the payments I have with my credit cards. I could regret the money I spend on interest. But why? I pay more than the minimums a LOT of the time. I pay off accounts too. But I end up re-opening them. My debt load is about 4 times the national average. But I have never seriously felt that I was in danger of going under.

We all make our own choices. Here's a little thought I think is funny... The word of God tells us that God doesn't like usury. Charging high interest isn't right. BUT, in the parable of the talents he makes it clear that we should invest our money with the bankers to draw interest. Bankers lent money even thousands of years ago. God says to owe no man but to love him. Being debt free is a noble cause. And yet debt must not be sin if he expects us to invest our money and lend to people.

Debt is a tool to build our businesses, enjoy our lives, get through the down times in business etc. We all have to decide where we are. My income could go down a few hundred per week for a time. But then it goes right back up a few hundred per week just as fast. Most people that work a dead end job do not have the earnings potential of taking on more business. So if your not going to get a better job or find another way to earn a living you should be looking at a good budget plan.

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