Suze Orman Says You Should Ditch Your Budget This Year Or Else You May 'Explode'

Personal finance expert Suze Orman compares restrictive budgets to crash diets and explains why you should ditch your budget in 2024. 

Orman’s advice may seem unconventional, but Orman, an expert in finance who hosts the podcast "Women & Money (and Everyone Smart Enough to Listen)," disagrees with strict budgets. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Orman said she hates budgets and compared them to crash or fad diets that are doomed to fail. 

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She said, "If you restrict, you limit, you cut back, you don't buy this, you don't buy that, and then all of a sudden, you explode, and you go out and you buy everything at once." 

Orman believes this behavior won't help you save money. Instead, it encourages bingeing similar to cheat days when you're dieting 

Fixating on things you shouldn't buy is not a healthy way to handle your money. One survey found that 83% of Americans who have a monthly budget admit that they overspend on their budget. It's not just Orman that feels this way about budgets. Other financial experts like Melissa Browne and Ramit Sethi believe that strict budgets can do more harm than good. 

Browne told CNBC Select, "Budgets don't work for many people in the same way diets or one-size-fits-all eating approaches don't work long term." For example, Orman feels that buying coffee and eating out is a waste of money and, she chooses to spend that money on domestic travel. However, for some people, not buying coffee is not an option and that type of budget may not be as helpful for them.  

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When it comes to saving money and making sound financial decisions, Browne said it's about "spending and investing well." Sethi feels the same way, explaining that meticulously counting pennies on a restrictive budget is a pointless endeavor.      

So, what does this look like in real life? Orman advises people who want to spend their money wisely to "live below your means but within your needs." Knowing how to identify wants from needs can go a long way in helping you make healthy financial decisions.

To do this, Orman suggests making smaller decisions about how to spend your money to make you feel like you have more control over your bank account. This means instead of cutting out things that bring you joy, you choose other opportunities to save money when it feels the most empowering. Orman said, "Just do one thing that might make you feel more secure." By making smaller decisions, you're not restricting yourself completely and are more likely to stick to your spending plan.  

Sethi suggests that instead of a budget in 2024, you create a conscious spending plan where you track monthly costs and expenses, investments and the things that bring you happiness. 

Author Harold Pollack also believes that tracking every dollar is not a healthy or sustainable budget for the long term. Pollack advises that your entire financial plan should be able to fit on an index card. He advises people to try to save between 10% and 20% of their monthly income after paying expenses 

Budgeting Orman's way should give you fewer restrictions while encouraging responsible spending in the long term.

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