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Podcast Episode 007: "I'm terrible at budgeting. Do I suck it up---or is there another way?"

Season 1, Episode 7: “I’m Terrible at Budgeting. Do I Suck It Up—Or Is There Another Way?”



Today we’re doing that thing we love to do: taking age-old advice, rolling it up into a ball, and dunking it with the speed and grace of a green-screened figure.

You don’t have to budget to live a frugal, responsible life.

Today’s question

We tackle this topic at the behest of Patron Sarah, who writes…

“How the HELL does someone stick to a budget? I have ADHD and self control and budgeting is already hard as is, so if you have any tips or tricks to help a gal stay in a budget (especially a very stringent one!) that would be neat :)”

– Patron Sarah

Also today’s episode contains a bold-faced lie. In it, I swore I would never bring a chicken to the vet. This was recorded before my favorite chicken got sick. And I contemplated the enormous sacrifice she made laying an egg for us every single day, and I…

Brought her to an emergency avian specialist…

At great expense…

What can I say? I am as lava cake: crackly exterior, gushy interior.

As always, all thanks for this episode go to our loyal, amazing Patreon donors, especially Sarah, who asked this question. If you would like to ask us a question on the podcast, head on over to Patreon!

Episode transcript (click to reveal)

Theme Song 0:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
 
Well here’s the ‘sitch
We’re gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches
 
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you

Kitty  0:31
Right now Clover is perched on her scratching pad and she is just barely purring for no reason. She’s just kind of like zoning out staring off into space and purring just a little bit and it makes me super duper happy because she was so unhappy recently. She was allergic to her food, and she had like a special kidney diet. So it was like

Piggy  0:56
Wait wait wait – a special kidney diet for her – the health of her kidney or special diet of kidneys?

Kitty  1:02
Yes. A special diet to be gentle on her kidneys.

Piggy  1:07
Ok – great.

Kitty  1:08
Because she’s in early renal failure, which we knew when we adopted her, but

Piggy  1:12
You motherfucking saint…

Kitty  1:13
Listen – old cats are the best kept secret. Old pets in general, like they’re super low maintenance. They don’t really want to do anything other than like, sack out in a patch of sunlight, take some naps, like they don’t want to do any of that like they don’t want none of that parkour. They don’t want none of that, like dog agility nonsense. They don’t want you to like shine the laser mouse around, like make them run all over, make them tired. They hate that shit. They’re old. They’re like, I’m, I want, I wanna, I want to tuck myself in early and watch my stories and that’s it and it is so compatible with my lifestyle.

Piggy  1:14
Yeah, I was gonna say I feel like we each have a lot in common with old pets and it’s not really a secret like you wrote a whole thing – I think we’re converting people to elderly pets.

Kitty  2:06
That – if I convinced like two people to adopt an older pet I would be like my mission on this planet is done. I will move on to the next planet.

Piggy  2:19
Because there is an next planet like I just want to put this out there but

Kitty  2:22
Oh I’m Mormon.

Piggy  2:23
Oh yeah Bitches Get Riches canon is like the Mormons they got it right we’re each gonna get fucking planet.

Kitty  2:28
I love – We should have like a canon that we live in a universe that is like the Listener’s universe, but slightly different and better where we just take all the best ideas from everybody. The Mormons were dead on right about the planets. Everybody should get their own planet!

Piggy  2:47
They fucking knew. I don’t know how they knew!

Kitty  2:50
It is Mormonism, not Scientologists, right?

Piggy  2:53
Yeah, you got it right – don’t worry.

Kitty  2:56
Okay, thank you. Y’all have earned your superfluous planets. I hope they’re populated with – I don’t know like good food, old pets and sexy, sexy ladies.

Piggy  3:11
Sexy ladies and sexy gentlemen.

Kitty  3:15
I don’t need them.

Piggy  3:17
YOU don’t – Listen my heterosexual assets gonna need some sexy gentlemen folk.

Kitty  3:22
So heteronormative.

Piggy  3:24
I’m sorry. I’ll just be over here heterosexing.

Kitty  3:39
I’m Kitty!

Piggy  3:40
And I’m Piggy.

Kitty  3:41
We are the bitches in Bitches Get Riches!

Piggy  3:44
And we are your over protective internet Big Sisters

Kitty  3:47
And we are here to explain all the shit that mom and dad got wrong.

Piggy  3:51
Our time on this planet is limited!

Kitty  3:53
So let’s get started. Luckily, our time on our next planet is not limited.

Piggy  3:56
It’s true. Okay, so today’s letter comes to us from a Patreon donor, Sarah.

Kitty  4:02
Thank you, Sarah. Your hair is lustrous and shiny.

Piggy  4:07
So true. Sarah writes: how the hell does someone stick to a budget? I have ADHD and self control and budgeting is already hard as is. So if you have any tips or tricks to help a gal stay in budget, especially a very stringent one, that would be neat!

Kitty  4:24
Hmm!

Piggy  4:26
I’m just gonna throw it out there. But like, I think one possible answer to this and I know it’s one that you will agree with is: don’t fucking budget. Just don’t. There are other ways.

Kitty  4:37
There are other ways. I think that budgeting is usually talked about as like an absolute necessity for overall financial like health and responsibility and well being. But I don’t, you don’t. And we’re certainly not alone. There are a lot of people who live very frugally and very responsibly without a budget.

Piggy  5:01
Yeah.

Kitty  5:02
I think one of the most common reasons that people leave off from a budget is that they’re not really flexible in a way that accounts for how the real world works. So for example, you know, if I take all of my pets to the vet, I do it all in November. That is just like, the month that I take them all for their annual exams, and I could spend $400 in vet bills, just like

Piggy  5:31
Oh wait – we need to insert in here that you have 3000 pets. Just want to be clear about that.

Kitty  5:35
This is true. I have six chickens, they don’t go to the vet. They’re lucky I’m not eating them. I have two dogs and a cat. I have two guinea pigs, who I will eat if they keep sassing me – they are horrible little dumpster creatures. I’m like, here guinea pigs I went online and I read about like which vegetables are best for you and I don’t want you to get too much calcium, it’ll give you a kidney stone so here you go. Here’s some some nice swiss chard and they’re like, you fucking dirty bitch. Get that non carrot the fuck out of my cage, go back to the refrigerator open up the bottom drawer – we know where it is. We know what the sound of the drawer opening means and we start shrieking like goblins – they’re horrible.

Piggy  6:28
I just want to say it’s very clear that raunchy insults are your love language because I know you fucking adore those little fucking pigs.

Kitty  6:35
I do. One of them licks my hand. Okay, budget…

Piggy  6:38
Right back to your budget!

Yeah. And I would say a lot of like pro-budgeting people. Not that I meant to say that in like a nasty way. Like, they’re pro-budgeting, but like,

Kitty  6:39
So what I’m saying is, if I have a budget, it’s already blown to hell for the month of November because it probably doesn’t account for going out and spending $400 – even if it does, what happens when the vet is like, actually, one of your animals needs this other procedure done. So now it’s more money than you had anticipated. And it’s like even if you have the money for it and the issue isn’t having the money, it’s sticking to the budget. Just everyday realities make it so that you can’t necessarily easily predict absolutely every expense that will come across your desk. Right?

I was like, like they’re a faction!

Piggy  7:29
They’re a faction of like, the personal finance wars!

Kitty  7:32
Yes.

Piggy  7:32
So pro-budgeters are always like, well, that’s what an emergency fund is for and that’s why like, you plan for this stuff like the year in advance and whatever. That doesn’t work for everyone. Like I’m sorry that we can’t all be these perfect year in advance planners, like it just – it doesn’t work.

Kitty  7:51
Yeah.

Piggy  7:51
I know, like my system is when I described it, some people they’re like, oh, so you keep a budget like no, it’s not a budget. I track my spending and I kind of audit myself every couple of months by looking back at that tracked spending and seeing like, wow, it looks like I spent an inordinate amount of money on I don’t know, like travel or you know, or sports – not that I sport, but sport like things.

Kitty  8:18
You’re always going on with your sports. You know your favorite team the California

Piggy  8:28
Ravens flies?

Kitty  8:30
Ravens flies. Yeah, exactly. They – I saw their big game with the Miami growths.

Piggy  8:40
Growths!

Kitty  8:41
They need to get those growths looked at cause they don’t look good.

Piggy  8:45
They need. Yeah, they don’t look good. If I’m, I noticed I’m spending more on X, Y or Z in a given month I interrogate that with myself and I say okay at what happened there? Okay, I can cut back and next week. ways, so it’s kind of constantly reevaluating, rather than setting a budget for each month that needs to be rigidly adhered to, with no room for adjustments and no room for life comin atchya.

Kitty  9:15
I 100% agree, like the first tip that I would give to someone who is really, shall we say ‘messy’ in their personal financial dealings is just – you need to get a lay of the land – like you – it’s amazing how many times I have thought without tracking something that it’s this way, but actually, it’s completely different. Like it’s really easy to just sort of like lose track or like, this happens to me all the time where I’m like, remember that thing that we did last year, and my husband’s like that was six years ago.

Piggy  9:55
They’re lying.

Kitty  9:57
You’re lying.

Piggy  9:57
Watch you resist!

Kitty  10:00
It’s really easy to just kind of like lose sight of things that you do easily and invisibly and especially that’s true of purchases, like most purchases now are set up knowing the psychology behind that and knowing that they don’t want you to have to think too hard about it. They want it to feel push button and easy and forgettable, because that’s how they get you to come back and spend more and so I think tracking spending absolutely is the way that I would go. I think when you take a cold hard look at like, wow, I spent $300 on dining out when I was thinking that maybe I spent about $100 every month. That’s pretty sobering and I think that will help you find your self control.

Piggy  10:52
Mm hmm, absolutely. 1,000% I will say a strict budget is good for well, it’s good for many things for some people but for all of us it’s really good for one thing which is not spending money that you don’t want to spend in the form of excuses so like, if a friend is like OMG come to my MLM party we’re selling these little like leggings or make up bags or coolers like a wine at a month club but all the wines are like terrible. So if I get invited to one of those MLM parties, one of my many excuses if I don’t want to, like read them the filth on why MLM or crap is going “Oh, oh my gosh I’d love to, but it doesn’t fit in my budget right now.”

Kitty  11:41
Yeah, absolutely.

Piggy  11:42
It’s perfect.

Kitty  11:43
Budget is also a great way of like, sort of gently bowing out of commitments that you aren’t interested in doing – like say if someone is like, come to my destination wedding. It is so so easily and socially acceptable to say oh, I would love to go with you to Perth! Unfortunately, it’s just not enough budget this year.

Piggy  12:07
We’re only taking two trips to Majorca this year. So, unfortunately, we can’t make it to your Perth wedding.

Kitty  12:14
So I want to talk about one other aspect of this, which is, um, so Sarah mentions that she has ADHD. This is interesting to me because I was recently diagnosed with ADHD.

Piggy  12:28
Your diagnosis! A diagnosis! Sorry, I just had to.

Kitty  12:35
You’re cancelled.

Piggy  12:39
Gracie’s girlfriend? Anyone? Okay.

Kitty  12:41
Thank you for sending me that YouTube video for context.

Piggy  12:43
You’re welcome.

Kitty  12:46
So I I have a lot of sympathy for this. I am literally 32 years old and just got this diagnosis. And I was like, how is it possible that I have had these issues for my whole life and all of my male family members, it was caught very early on in their childhood. But for me, it didn’t get diagnosed until I’m a grown ass woman. And the answer is sexism? When you have a diagnosis, and you know that there’s something that’s up with you, that makes you different, that makes you special, because I do think it does make you special. That’s a really valuable tool, and you know that much more about yourself and what motivates you. So if there are areas where you find that after tracking, you find that like, alright, so the idea of sticking to a budget isn’t working, but you’re seeing that you’re still overspending in certain areas. You can identify like, what are the triggers that are pushing me to make those purchases? Do I tend to spend more than I need to when I’m bored at work, and I’m just kind of browsing, like, shopping for shit on my phone because I’m bored? I did that for a little bit, but there’s like times when I noticed that like, if I’m really hungry, you cannot stop me from getting something that I want to get because I’m in a bad mood. I hate being hungry and I’m more likely to instead of getting the one thing that will sate my hunger and be good for me, I’m just going to be like, give me every nacho! So knowing kind of…

Piggy  14:36
I’ve heard you say that like no joke. We’ve lived together and there is nothing that would induce me to get between you and the food you want at any given time.

Kitty  14:45
Yeah. And the food I deserve. Thank you.

Piggy  14:46
I value my hand too much. The food you deserve!

Kitty  14:49
So I think if you can look back and identify that it’s – you aren’t making stupid purchases or bad choices all the time. Some of those are good. So look back and see what were the good ones. What would you spend money on again? And what would you not? And the things that you’re not – ask yourself, why? What is your mood? What’s your situation? What’s your environment that’s causing you to do that? Because I guarantee that will make it easier when you really identify the problem.

Piggy  15:24
Yeah. I also want to recommend one of our classic BGR articles to Sarah, which is called The Magically Frugal Power of Patience because what I’m getting from this is she’s saying like I can’t stick to a budget. She’s like I’m, you know, impulsive, and I don’t have any self control where spending money is concerned. And that, to me is more than a budgeting issue like you were saying, like this is a thing about you know, identifying what your triggers are, and what’s causing you to break down and impulsively spend money. So there’s two methods we talked about in that article. The Magically Frugal Power of Patience, one of which is waiting. So if you want something on day one, put it on your calendar, metaphorically speaking, if you’re, you know, a millennial or younger and you don’t actually have an actual calendar and just put it on your calendar for 30 days later, and when you reach that 30 day mark, and you see that thing come up again, you see the words, just be like: Wait, do I still want this? And I guarantee you some of the times, you will not still want it like after waiting, you might decide that you don’t actually need to spend that money, which is great, because look, you just saved that money. Another thing to do is ask yourself when you want to buy something, three questions, and those questions are: Do I really need it? Do I really love it? Is it a really great deal? And if you answer yes to two or more of those questions, you may buy it. If you answer yes to only one of those questions. Fuck off. You can’t buy it.

Kitty  16:57
That’s a really good system.

Piggy  17:00
I know. I came up with it myself. #trademark.

Kitty  17:03
It’s almost like you’re good this shit.

Piggy  17:06
It’s almost like I’ve been doing this for several years.

Kitty  17:09
Just yesterday, actually, my husband and I went to a bike consignment sale because we – I would like to be more active. I would love to be more active in a way that incorporates my dogs and I have one dog who loves the bike. He shrieks when you take it out, because he’s so excited. Like, my neighbors thought that I was abusing him. And I was like, no, that’s excitement actually. I know it sounds like being hit with a cattle prod, but that’s his happy sound.

Piggy  17:46
Dude – having run with your dog in the past, like I did not expect his visceral reaction to just like a pair of running shoes coming out of the closet.

Kitty  17:54
He goes nuts. So he’s really active. My husband runs, but he doesn’t have fantastic joints. He has pretty flat feet so ultimately it’s not great for his body because you know the cardio is great, but the the heavy stress on the joints is not so we kind of put those things together and we were like we should really own a bicycle. Luckily we’re the same height so we were like we can probably just get away with owning one. When we went to this consignment sale we found that almost all of them were a type of bike that we’re really not interested in – the road bike where you’re like hunched forward.

Piggy  18:34
Yeah no.

Kitty  18:34
I have a bad back like I hate that and like, I’m like, Where are you looking? When you’re driving one of those bikes around like you’re staring down the road and I’m like, how about you be looking at traffic slightly more? I don’t get those, you know, so I like the more upright sort of, mountain biking type of ride. It also helps to have the thicker tires because we have a lot of potholes and a lot of hills. So kind of all those things together, we were like no like a maybe a mountain bike, maybe some kind of like comfort, like a cruiser type of type of thing if we can find the right one. And ultimately, we found the perfect bike for us and it was not part of the consignment sale. It was $560 and we went and we before we said, Yes, we said, let’s go walk around the block and talk about all the reasons that this is a good idea and all the reasons that this is a bad idea. And just being able to say those things out loud, was really helpful. Because we kind of reminded ourselves of why we were there, why we wanted what we wanted, why our initial budget was what we thought it was going to be, and are the reasons that we’re changing our mind and looking at this other thing, are they good enough? And ultimately, we’re like, yeah, absolutely. That’s good enough because he and I haven’t always been great about exercising. If we give ourselves the excuse of, oh, I would go for a bike ride except that, you know, that bike. It always hurts my back and my back’s been acting up like it. I knew that if we had that excuse, we would not use it. So it was the wiser investment ultimately to buy something a little bit more. Are you good with that?

Piggy  19:07
I’m good with that.

Kitty  19:07
Okay, Listeners, if there’s a question you would like for us to answer: Go to BitchesGetRiches.com and click Ask The Bitches.

Piggy  19:07
There’s only one way to guarantee that will answer your question though, and that is to become a Patreon donor!

Kitty  19:07
Woo – We love them! If you like what we do, and you want to keep us going, please become a Patreon donor and support us with any donation amount that you’re comfortable with. We don’t need a lot of money. A small donation is fine.

Piggy  20:53
And for those who want something more tangible than a podcast and a blog, we also have merch. Our merch store’s on Etsy where you can buy t-shirts and printable worksheets and more!

Kitty  21:04
Finally there are some free things you can do to say thank you for all of your listening pleasure that you just consumed – you consumer capitalists swine! Please rate and review us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play whatever you use to listen, it bumps us up in the charts and makes us easier to find. You can also follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. And if you subscribe to our articles, you will never miss a new one. You can do all of that at BitchesGetRiches.com.

Piggy  21:28
I love you just sounded like you were on fast forward but that was your actual voice.

Kitty  21:32
I listened. I’m good at it.

Piggy  21:34
You are so good at it. Hey, is there anything else?

Kitty  21:38
Yes, never cooking an avocado.

Piggy  21:40
Good to know.

Kitty & Piggy  21:40
Bitches out!

Kitty  21:47
I get fucking crazy when I see these recipes that call for cooking an avocado.

Piggy  21:54
Why would you? Like do they want to grill it? Like what’s the protocol?

Kitty  21:58
So the one is all we see is where they cut an avocado in half and they remove the pit and then into the pit pit they put an egg, and then they want you to cook the egg in there. And I tried to make one once, and I put a forkful into my mouth and chewed on it for about five seconds before spitting it out because avocados get really bitter when you apply heat to them and the texture gets kind of like stringy-er and kind of also harder and mushy. It’s not a nice combination and just an avocado is such a beautiful thing when you have an avocado that is ripe and ready to go. Like there’s there’s nothing meaner you could do to it then to cook it,

Piggy  22:54
I know!

Kitty  22:56
They’re tricking you there. They’re going with what looks good on Pinterest. They’re fucking tricking you.  Don’t fall for it.

Piggy  23:01
They are fucking tricking you. I do want to say one thing you should always grill: peaches.

Kitty  23:09
Yes, absolutely cook the shit out of a peach, but never an avocado

Piggy  23:12
Never an avocado. Hard and fast rule. I’m really glad we got that out of the way.

Kitty  23:19
That’s really good. Yeah.

Piggy  23:20
A plus. Well done.

Huge thanks to Purple at A Purple Life for her help creating these transcripts!

5 thoughts to “Season 1, Episode 7: “I’m Terrible at Budgeting. Do I Suck It Up—Or Is There Another Way?””

    1. She did not. But it gave us peace of mind to know that nothing more could be done. Made it much easier to enjoy our last few weeks with her.

  1. So I am pretty sure I have ADHD too (side question: are there any real advantages to being diagnosed as adult that you don’t get from just assuming and doing things to compensate?) and I was never able to stick to a budget either until I was earning more than I needed.

    But I use a flexible budget (ynab) that lets me move money around at will, but keeps in front of me the things I know I have to pay for like car rego and patreon payments. Again, I don’t think it would really work if I had less money than I need, but you never know.

    And to go back to an older article, 1 vote for job hopping. I increased my salary by $25k in 2 years by job hopping. An increase they were never going to just give me as a raise. It was good to read your article and see the old wisdom of job hopping = bad debunked.

  2. I’m sure I’ll write more about my experience in the future, but YES, I highly recommend seeking a diagnosis. I suspect there are a LOT Of very successful adult women who’ve spent decades willpowering / white-knuckling their way through ADHD symptoms.

    + Untreated ADHD can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
    + Diagnosed ADHD is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so you get workplace protections.
    + A proper test will establish a benchmark of cognitive function while you’re young and healthy, which is very handy if you start to notice memory issues or other declining functions as you age.
    + The social media groups for adult women with ADHD rock, and have many quality memes.
    + My productivity has skyrocketed with just a bitsy-baby 5mg dose of Adderall

    To be honest, it took me some time to work through unhappy/complicated feelings about being diagnosed. But now that I’m past that, this new information about myself feels like a gift. It’s validating as hell. Consider this a preview of some near-future post!

  3. I’m a huge fan, and I’m pretty sure over the last year or so of being a huge fan (and subscribed) that I’ve now read all of your blog and scrolled through most of your tumblr! Podcasts are very difficult for me to listen to because I’m HOH and while I absolutely understand expanding into wider audiences and that some content may not be available in forms I can access, I was wondering if you have the episodes available or will have them available in transcript form anywhere?

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