Budgets promote financial stability by regulating your spending and allowing you to create effective fiscal plans. Although a myriad of budgeting techniques exist, many of them require complex money-tracking strategies, bill-paying techniques or a focus on small details that can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture: your financial security. Conventional budgeting techniques, such as the traditional method that utilizes columns to list your income and expenses, have a number of benefits over newer or more complex approaches.
The simple organization of conventional budgets allows you to easily calculate your income and expenses so you get a concise yet complete picture of your finances. You can set target amounts for different categories and compare them to your actual expenditures, enabling you to adjust your budget accordingly. The straightforward formatting of conventional budgets also makes it easy to manage overspending by showing you exactly where you can reduce spending in other categories to cover the deficit.
Wealth of Information Available
It may be harder to find information about setting up and sustaining newer or more complicated budgeting techniques, let alone determine their effectiveness. In some cases this is due to a lack of popularity, while in others it is because a paid membership or the purchase of a service is required. Conventional budgeting has been around for quite a while as a tried and true method of organizing finances. This means plenty of tips, articles and nuggets of advice are available online, in books or from friends and family members.
A budget is only helpful if you stick with it. If a budget is too complicated, you may get overwhelmed and give up before you actually reap the benefits. A conventional budget is easy to initiate and maintain, increasing the likelihood that you'll keep it up. It also makes it easy for you and your spouse to understand and manage your household finances, allowing either of you to handle budgetary responsibilities using the same system. If you're using two different techniques, you may end up with inconsistencies.
Budgeting usually means saving money anywhere you can. Although the promises of pricey financial systems and techniques make them seem like smart financial expenditures, using one may end up costing you more than it is worth -- especially if you abandon it. A conventional budget, on the other hand, is completely free to implement and maintain on paper or with a word processing or spreadsheet program. And not having to pay for memberships or to access information eliminates yet another unnecessary expense.
Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.