Wealth manager: Budgets don't work—do this instead if you want to build wealth
If you want to save more money, budgeting might not be the best strategy.
In fact, budgets typically don't work, co-founder of AE Wealth Management and bestselling author David Bach tells CNBC Make It: "Number one: They're complicated, so people don't like to do them. Number two: They take time. Number three: They're not fun at all. It's like having a diet, so even when you go on them, often, you fall right off within two to three months."
"You don't meet a whole lot of people who have budgeted their way to millions," he adds.
If you want to save more money and build wealth, you don't necessarily have to create a detailed budget that allocates money for categories like clothes, coffee and bars. Instead, simply commit to paying yourself first, says Bach. Whenever you earn money set aside a portion for your future self.
As long as you establish how much you need to save each month for retirement, your emergency fund and any other big, future purchases, and you actually set that amount aside, you don't have to budget at all.
The amount you set aside for those categories depends on your individual situation, but "let's say it's 15% of your income," Bach says. "Once you've taken that 15% off the top, now you've got 85% left of your paycheck. That's the money you now live off of," which will go towards fixed costs like rent and food, but also discretionary spending like restaurants and entertainment.
"As long as you don't go over spending that 85%, you don't need a budget," says Bach.
Kimmie Greene, money expert at Intuit, offers similar advice. "People can get really hyper-focused on spending and think, 'How much am I spending on Uber versus taking the bus?' Or, 'How much am I spending on coffee?'" she tells CNBC Make It.
Rather than scrutinizing daily expenses, she encourages people to think: "As long as I can save this much per month or quarter or year, it doesn't really matter how I spend my money. I just have to know that I'm getting to the savings goal that matters for me at this point in my life."
Certified financial planner Nick Holeman agrees. Set your money goals, make sure that you're saving enough to reach them and don't worry about the day-to-day expenses, he tells CNBC Make It: "As long as you know how much you need to be saving and you're saving enough each month, who really cares where the rest of the money goes?"
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.