Using a budget is one of the key ways to manage your money and pay off your debt. However, sometimes it does not always go as planned. Sometimes we get our paycheck and spend it on wants instead of actually spending it on our accumulated debt. It is very easy to overspend and as a result, the numbers of your budget do not match up.
So you have your budget made out and you have been trying to abide by it for a while but you never seem to be able to stick to it. There are a number of reasons why this might happen as well as some great ways you can get your budget back on track.
- You haven’t given it enough time – Let’s face it, having a budget is a big adjustment for anyone as you have to be more restrictive with your money. During the first three months you must get adjusted to your newly found budget as well as your actual income and expenses. The trick is to keep working on it and not be afraid to play with your numbers and adjust your budget to suit your needs.
- You didn’t stick with it – Living within your means while avoiding overspending means you have to cultivate new habits. Just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean you cannot adjust it to suit you. Learning to use your new budget correctly may take a while as it is with any other new habit. Simply writing a new budget out and forgetting about it will not help you; you must refer to your budget frequently, track your spending and compare it to what you proposed in your budget in order to see if you are on track.
- Your expenses outweigh your income – When spending money we get used to treating ourselves with certain things, which eventually feel like a regular routine rather than an actual treat. Sometimes, even though we enjoy doing certain things we eventually grow used to doing them, we need to reevaluate out spending. When you are spending more money than you make it isn’t the budget that isn’t working, it is your spending that needs to be revised. There are some luxuries that we are accustomed to however, we can actually survive without them. Think about what you are spending money on and what you actually don’t need in order to allocate some money to more important things such as paying off debts or building your savings.
- You lack an emergency fund – You may have gone through some stressful months working on meeting your budget and attaining your goals, however if you have not prepared an emergency fund for those unexpected rainy days then you may knock your budget off track. The idea of an emergency fund is to keep you from spending out of pocket when unexpected expenses arise. When integrating savings into your budget it is important to first start with building an emergency fund so if anything happens, you are able to keep your budget on track and not use that months accumulated paychecks towards the mishap. Remember to keep your emergency fund for just that, emergencies, and not an extension of your monthly budget.
- You’re not being strict enough with yourself – Once in a while, in order to stick to your budget, you must say “no” to yourself. Not to deny yourself of anything but instead to attain your previously decided goals. Forgoing a purchase just so you can check your budget to see if you can actually afford it is a true act of discipline. No one is going to punish you for cheating on your budget; however, it can lead to complications: for example, having to take from your saving to pay your regular bills.
- You didn’t leave room for rewarding yourself – When working on a budget and using most of your money to pay your bills as well as building your saving account it is important to set regular rewards for goals that you may have attained. Just because you are budgeting doesn’t mean you cannot have fun, it just means you have previously decided how much you will let yourself spend. Cutting out your outings and fun will make you resent budgeting and in the long run, will not get you anywhere. Be sure to keep your entertainment fund reasonable- remember to have fun without busting your budget.
When making a budget you have to be honest with yourself. In the end, it is not about anyone else and it is you who is in control. It may not be easy but it will be worth it.