Gov. John Kitzhaber proposed his state budget for the 2015-17 biennium on Dec. 1. My belief in it rivals my belief in Santa.


Sinking Spring police are planning to add body cameras to their arsenal.

Chief Lee Schweyer said he is planning to buy three body cameras next year.

There have been increasing calls for police to use such cameras following deadly confrontations in Missouri and New York City.

Only 39 percent of adults say they have a budget and keep an eye on their spending, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. And a recent Experian survey estimates that over 60 percent of holiday shoppers plan to shop for holiday gifts without a budget this year.

But neither of these surveys really explains why Americans seem to overlook budgeting. We talked to five financial and psychological experts about why they think people dont budget.

1. Unresolved emotional issues

People don#039;t budget or stick to a budget due to unresolved emotional issues, Eddie Reece, a therapist who specializes in helping people improve their financial lives, said in an email. If our financial lives were simply about math, we#039;d all have plenty of money.

We have a relationship with our money just like we have a relationship with food, he explained. And just like emotional issues can sabotage a resolution to lose weight, so too can emotional issues sabotage a budget, he said.

Much of our behavior is explained by the drive to regulate how we feel, said Reece. Some people drink alcohol, some people eat food and some people bury themselves in their electronics, he said.

So it is with money, Reece continued. We spend it, save it, dream about it, (and) try to get more of it, all in pursuit of lsquo;feeling better. (But) the only reason one would want to feel better is they dont like how they feel.

However, Reece explained, When you learn to experience your inner emotional world the highs and the lows in ways that arent distractions, you wont be so driven to use an outside source to soothe yourself.

Reece suggests first taking an honest accounting of your money, including every penny that leaves your pocket, and then telling someone close to you what youre doing so that you have someone to be accountable to.

As you keep track of your money, youll almost automatically make changes, Reece said, but youll be surprised at how difficult it is to keep an honest accounting. Old habits die hard, after all.

While the truth may set your free, Reece says, itll only do that by upsetting you. However, its that discomfort that will be your incentive to shake up the status quo.

2. Meaningless numbers

To make budgeting successful, it needs to be tied to what you want to do in your life, Kevin Gallegos, vice president of the Phoenix division of the Freedom Financial Network, said in an email.

Instead of starting with numbers, Gallegos suggests starting with goals. Maybe the goals range from saving on weekly grocery bills to taking a family vacation to Disneyworld, or even making sure you have time to train for a marathon, he said. Write them all down, and then build the budget with the goals in mind.

Its OK if your budget needs modifications along the way, he explained. You just need to know where youre going.

3. Inertia

In some respects, answering the question of why people dont budget is a lot like the question of why we dont go to the gym every day, Eric Chen, associate professor of business administration at the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut, said in an email. We all know its good for us, but sometimes, there just isnt enough force to drag us there.

Budgeting forces a person to look critically at ones own financial information, said Chen. Looking in the proverbial mirror isnt always easy.

Instead of a one-time process, budgeting takes continual upkeep, he said. Its a continuous process of planning, feedback and adjustment. After youve looked back at what youve spent, made goals for the next period of your life and executed your plan, you have to do it all over again, and the repetitive process feels a lot like sticking to a diet, said Chen. Its something that requires discipline.

4. Endorphins

For people to budget, Joseph R. Sanok, a counselor at Mental Wellness Counseling, said in an email, The goal has to be more compelling than the immediate purchase.

When we see the immediate reward of a purchase, Sanok said, our brains light up with endorphins (ie happy chemicals). When we budget, we don#039;t get the same high.

However, when individuals set up systems that give similar reward cues to the brain, it can mirror those same chemicals, said Sanok.

For example, you could pay off your small debts or work on short-term budgeting goals. Small goals that are short-term use the brain#039;s natural reinforcement system, said Sanok.

Of course, you dont want to ignore the big stuff. But having a few little wins under your belt could help you gather momentum.

5. Misconceptions

I think people have a lot of misconceptions about what it means to budget, Stephanie Genkin, a financial planner who teaches budgeting workshops at the Brooklyn Public Library, said in an email. Instead of meticulously planning each purchase you make, Genkin believes that budgeting is, at its core, knowing how much you need for the essentials, setting aside money for your monthly debt payments and saving for your retirement and that inevitable rainy day.

Then the rest of your income is yours to spend anyway you like, said Genkin. The only trick is that you have to keep track of that amount as you go through your month. hellip; Roughly 30 percent of your monthly after tax pay is yours to enjoy. But when you#039;ve spent it, the party#039;s over until the next paycheck.

In most cases, a change of habit or two hellip; is all it takes to get a budget under control, said Genkin. People who prioritize and plan their expenses know what they can afford to spend on lifes little treats which is all budgeting really is.

The Pine Bluff City Council is looking at $186,681.59 in projected expenses beyond the mayor's proposed 2015 budget as of Tuesday, setting the stage for tough decisions at its next meeting.

Alderman George Stepps and Alderman Bill Brumett recommended at a public safety committee Tuesday to reinstate an employee position into the Division 2 Court budget for 2015 at a cost of $36,015.26.

The Division 2 Court budget was $866,000 in 2014. Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth proposed $650,000 for 2015. There is also a proposed transfer of $100,000 in an emergency vehicle fund from the Division 2 Court budget.

Judge John Kearney came to the public safety committee meeting. Kearney said that the Division 2 Court employees have more work than they did in the past. Prosecutor office employees spend time researching criminal cases, preparing paperwork and appearing in court. One employee received so much paperwork that she needed more space so she was moved to another area.

Kearney compared instances in which people who have been arrested ask for lawyers during probable cause hearings. In the 1980s, about 90 percent of arrested people could afford an attorney, compared to about 10 percent today, he said.

"I am not complaining. I enjoy what I do," Kearney said. "I do not consider any employee to be a surplus."

Kearney said that there is also a need for more space to house documents for up to 10 years.

The public works committee did not meet, as Chairman Alderman Steven Mays declined to attend. Mays has said that he will be absent until there is a roundtable discussion featuring representatives who satisfy his concerns on ZIP codes, boundary lines and franchise fees.

Alderman Bill Brumett requested Alderman George Stepps join him in opening the meeting but Stepps declined to do so. Pine Bluff Assistant City Attorney Joe Childers said that they are legally allowed to meet because two members out of three constitutes a quorum. But Stepps said he was not comfortable meeting without Mays present.

It is unclear when the committee may try to meet again. The committee must meet as part of the 2015 budgeting process before the city's budget can be finalized, as required by state law.

At the ways and means committee meeting, Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department Director April Layher requested hiring employees and finding others through an intern program.

Finance Department Director Steve Miller said that the department did not pay car insurance or other insurance in the past. To remedy this problem, the ways and means committee recommended adding $50,000 in overdue insurance to the Parks and Recreation Department budget.

The other additional expenses are $33,197.36 in administration, $35,452.87 in traffic and aviation and $32,016.09 in planning and development.