When I first graduated from college and moved to New York City, I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. With so much to do and see and eat, it was difficult to restrain myself from blowing my entire paycheck on fun. But I was determined to stay on track, saving-wise.
I was already in the habit of automating my savings, so I tried to take my financial strategy one step further and create a budget that dictated how much I could spend each month across various categories, based on previous months' spending habits.
For months, I attempted to track and limit where I put my disposable income, but things got tedious and complicated fast. Was it okay to overspend on drinks if I saved on groceries? Did taking a cab home come out of my "transportation" category or my "fun" category? Should I subtract money from my total when I took it out of the ATM or when I actually spent it?
The nuances of sticking to what felt like a largely arbitrary budget became frustrating. And I'm not the only one who feels that way.
"What budgeting boils down to is depriving yourself for the sake of your future well-being," Bach writes in "The Automatic Millionaire." "This is certainly a responsible idea, but as a strategy, it goes against human nature."