Why budgets don’t work with Melissa Browne

In this episode I get the pleasure of interviewing one of my dear friends and guru of ‘all things finance’, Melissa Browne – to talk about her new book ‘Budgets Don’t Work, But This One Does’.

If your current budgets or thinking hasn’t been working, this gives you a whole new opportunity to rewrite the script, to roll your sleeves up, to get excited about money.

“Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our life and we’ll call it fate.” 

Carl Jung

Melissa is an author and serial entrepreneur. She is CEO of an award-winning accounting and advisory firm, CEO of a financial planning business and Director of Business at a long-day preschool – three very different businesses, that all are pushing the boundaries in their fields, questioning what is possible and disrupting their industry, in order to create the best possible results for their communities.

It’s been a lifetime of work, running a accounting firm, mentoring, coaching writing for the Fin review and other Australian institutions, as well as renowned global news platforms around finance, forecasting, shares and everything to do with building wealth, however Melissa wouldn’t have it any other way – she just loves teaching others ‘how to do it!’.

Melissa says ‘there could be 50 different paths to get you to the life that you want to design, but there is also a whole stack of limiting beliefs and inherent ways that you should be operating’. So you know she is very much in alignment with my philosophy that we need to be the CEO of our life as well as our business and take responsibility.

In this episode we talk about:

  • discovering financial awareness
  • why you need financial knowledge and sticking your head in the sand or an online shopping site won’t work
  • how to recognise limiting patters and build good financial habits. 

Step One – Budgets Don’t Work unless you Know Your ‘Money Story’

The importance of discerning between a ‘pattern’ and ‘right’ decision.

When most people think about budgets, or about designing the life they want, or setting financial goals, they often inherit values based on their parents, peers, or social beliefs. 

When you dig deep there are certain myths of what success looks like and how we truly recognise what great finance is. 

Melissa says ‘I believe that comes from the nurture part of who we are. It starts with our money stories. Often we don’t think to dig out those money stories that we grew up with, or that we’ve inherited from our parents’. 

‘We don’t understand why we’re accumulating and behaving the way that we do. Maybe we grew up with the money story that, for women it might be smart goals, a particular profession and so on, for blokes that might be around status and power and the things you need to have in your life to prove that you have made it to the top’.

This is the first part of recognising that ‘money story’.

A good start is to write down those old stories and ask yourself, what are my beliefs around money?

Without realising it so many people are quoting a shame story.

They’re quoting a story that they just did not expect to be in, especially now with COVID-19 the need to really understand, plan and budget is greater than ever.

It’s being brave enough to own it and to rewrite a brave new ending and financially that’s what I want to see people doing at the moment’.

Step one:

  • Recognising the money story and asking the question, is this serving me or sabotaging me?
    • If it’s serving me, how do I lean more into that?
    • If it’s sabotaging me, how can I rewrite that?

Step Two: Budgets Don’t Work Until you Understand your other options now you know what your default was

Don’t be too hard on yourself and understand that you can’t get rid of your self talk – that’s just insidious within us, but when you recognise that it’s a program and you can give it a name (like my ego is called BOB), you can hear it, recognise it for a pattern, then you can choose not to listen to it. 

Too many of us are carrying this money story around, comparing ourselves to others, “thinking we’re at this age, but not at this stage”.

This just becomes a hustle where we feel we have to, in Brene Brown’s words, “hustle for our worthiness.” When we start to do that, it just becomes activity for the sake of activity’.

So when you ask yourself what is next: To help make that decision, ask yourself:

Face your fears to look under the hood of your personal and commercial cashflow. As from that point you can be liberated to do the next right thing…hide and ignore and the avoidance will keep you stuck in the old cycle.

Knowledge is powerful: Be honest and liberated, because with truth comes freedom and with freedom comes choice.

  • What information do you need to compile to ensure you have all the facts and stats as to where you truly sit financially right now
  • How much do you need in the bank to be comfortable with day to day bills for at least 90 days to know you have an emergency back up
  • What do you want your future ACTUAL plan to look like
    • How much income would I like to have?
    • What legacy do you want to have as a result?

When you know exactly where we sit we can bring all of our financial realities to the surface and take action.

Step Three – Budgets Don’t Work Until you Strategise, Ask and Implement

Starting that journey of financial knowledge and building that financial blueprint with a fresh perspective is really important.

Do not compare yourself to others

Understand your wants and needs

Identify your non negotiables

Ensure you have expert advice and accounting support

NEVER be afraid to ask questions

Lean into your trusted experts, find people that can assist you and build you budget out with a fresh perspective. A short, mid and long term game plan with your NEW MONEY STORY in play.

Nobody else can run the money show for you.

Lastly : We want to encourage you to look at the business of energy, to go find it, to lean into your finances like a rally, to suit up, to get your numbers right, to talk to your spouse and say, “This is probably going to be one of those big, tough discussions, but let’s get amongst it.”

The programming we’ve been given is outdated in today’s ever changing commercial and personal landscape. That’s why we require agility. We can’t have agility to respond and plan until we know our vital ingredients for our financial foundations. Hence why the check points no matter where you are at on your journey are crucial.

Never be afraid of knowing your numbers.

Finally, I asked Melissa what would be the one piece of advice that she wanted to give people to become empowered with their money, no matter what’s going on around them?

Melissa referenced a quote from Brene Brown –

“When you define your story, it owns you, but when you rewrite the story, then you can write yourself a brave new ending.”

So as you head off to dive a bit deeper into your old money story and think about what you could redefine that to be – remember our actions determine patterns, not only from the past, but for our future generations.

We hope that this podcast will help you dig a little deeper.

  • To re-write your money story ending
  • To step up to be educated, empowered and excited about money with pride and confidence.

A special thanks to Melissa Browne. Head to her website for the many tools, resources and books ‘More Money for Shoes’, ‘Fabulous But Broke’ and ‘Unf*ck Your Finances’. Melissa’s newest book, Budgets don’t work, but this one does is also available through Booktopia online.

instagram @moremoneyforshoes 

twitter @melissabrowne

📺 : Like and subscribe on YouTube, we’d love your comments and questions

PS Click Here For last weeks Truth Series #1 Defining Yours

Yours in Mojo always,


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Nikki Fogden-Moore Clients Corporate and Speaking