5 Reasons Budgeting is Hard for Millennials

5 Reasons Budgeting is Hard for Millennials

Millennials are often labeled as lazy or lacking direction if they aren’t demonstrating success at making it on their own. But it’s easy to put a label on someone and make everything their fault.

Taking time to understand why millennials have trouble making it financially could show us a different scenario, however. In fact, what appears to be laziness, on the surface, could instead be a problem of not budgeting.

But if that is the case, what are some of the reasons budgeting is hard for millennials?

1. The Need to Keep Up

It’s difficult to deny yourself of things others have. This is especially true if everyone has it and you are expected to have it too. The price for millennials, though, could be higher debt and difficulty sticking to a budget.

One example of this is smart phones. Everyone seems to have them. Not only that, but millennials are almost obsessed by them. Nearly everywhere you go you see them ignoring each other and the world around them.

Millennials can check bank account balances, order stuff online, and communicate almost instantly by smartphone. Not having a smartphone, therefore, is very inconvenient.

How else will they keep up appearances and communicate? But the price of some smartphones and their associated monthly plans isn’t helping when it comes to sticking to a budget.

2. Buying on Credit

As millennials struggle to keep up with what others have they may choose to pay for items on credit. This, of course, causes their financial woes to multiply.

The ease with which a credit card can be obtained by young people isn’t helping matters either. Even with little to no credit history they can get a credit card if they look in the right places.

So, now millennials are using their credit cards to keep up appearances and live the way they are expected to. This only compounds the problem of budgeting for millennials.

3. No Budgeting Experience

Another reason budgeting is hard for millennials is their lack of budgeting experience. If they aren’t taught to budget at home, they likely aren’t getting any budgeting know-how at all.

Most schools aren’t teaching budgeting. This means matters of finance are ignored until millennials are forced to deal with it when they move out on their own.

Budgeting isn’t easy and with no budgeting experience millennials may have trouble knowing where to start. Furthermore, it can seem like a boring topic to deal with causing many to put it off to a future date that never arrives.

4. Not Learning to Save

Since millennials aren’t learning to budget they aren’t learning to save. This is just one more thing making budgeting hard for millennials.

Unforeseen events can cause the need for young people to pay for something they did not plan on. Consequently, millennials without money set aside may have a hard time paying for it.

Out comes the credit card to pay for this emergency, which is what some parents teach their kids. When the bill comes do, though, where does the money come from to pay it?

5. College Debt

Student debt is one more reason budgeting is hard for millennials. College tuition costs have risen to astronomical levels. For the millennial expected to go to college this can result in massive debt.

Starting out with a low paying job and high college debt is a recipe for a disaster. Once millennials try to make it on their own they have so much to pay for, including student debt, they are drowning in it.

Starting out is supposed to be an exciting time for a young person. But if a millennial is already behind when they start out, how are they going to be able to stick to a budget? For many it appears hopeless and causes them to give up on budgeting altogether.

Before labeling a millennial as lazy for their lack of budgeting, try understanding where they are coming from instead. Perhaps looking at the reasons budgeting is hard for millennials can help to resolve the problem.

Do you think it’s hard for millennials to budget? Why or why not?

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.


  1. This don’t sound any different than when I was in my early 20s. I am 51 now, but did all those things back then, except the smart phone. I do see the smart phones as a huge problem for distraction and lack of social skill within real life experiences. Other than social media and smart phones, don’t really think it is any different today.

  2. I think it really does come from our lack of knowledge. Too often we don’t have hands-on experience managing money as kids. I only started managing real money on my own after I graduated from college, and it was messy. I’d love for there to be more prominent resources out there for young people to learn about managing our money. Knowledge is power!

    1. I totally agree! My parents weren’t very open about finances when I was growing up. I think they were ashamed about their financial mistakes. But truthfully, I think it would’ve helped us learn if they had shared about them. Either way, I am now working on repairing my own mistakes and sharing about them, so hopefully other’s can learn before they make mistakes. I can’t wait talk to a class of high schoolers next week!

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