Why is Budgeting So Difficult?

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Your brain has an emotional response when it processes words like “budget” or “diet.” When you hear these words, you unconsciously expect deprivation or even suffering. As University of Minnesota professor Traci Mann explained to the Washington Post, “[Food] actually begins to look more appetizing and tempting ... It has increased reward value. So the thing you’re trying to resist becomes harder to resist.” Similarly, buying that pair of really nice shoes that you don’t need feels all the more tempting when you’re on a budget. “Budget” and “diet” implicitly make you focus on the things you shouldn’t be doing.

Mooch was founded on the principle of better budgeting. Ricky, one of our founders, was tired of worrying about his budget while he was planning his wedding. He designed a program to automate his budget and quickly realized he could actually earn interest for his savings envelopes, making the process not only less stressful and time-consuming, but also financially rewarding. "Once I saw that I could actually make bonuses / returns for my money, I figured others would want something like this too," said Ricky.


The first thing you should do is change your mindset. Instead of calling it a budget and expecting restrictions, reframe it as something more positive like a “spending plan.” The idea of a plan for your spending is more empowering and less restrictive. Instead of “being on a budget,” you’re “crushing your spending plan.”

Consider the results of a fascinating study by researchers from New York University: they found that helping subjects visualize future self doubled the amount they saved for retirement. Researchers showed half of participants a current image of themselves and the other half a digitally-altered image of what they might look like at age 70. The group that saw themselves at age 70 saved twice as much as the control group that saw a current image of themselves. By visualizing your future self, you can actually change your mindset around saving.

The other way to overcome the negative associations that "budgeting" evokes is to change your approach. Traditional methods like stuffing physical envelopes with cash are outdated. No one even carries cash anymore! Mooch changes the game because we actually pay you to budget. We know how hard budgeting can be, so we created real, financial incentives to help you stick to your budget! Download Mooch on the app store (for free) and start getting paid to budget TODAY.

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