Wondering why your budget doesn’t work? If you’re like me, sometimes your best efforts go unrealized when you get to the end of the month. And I’d venture a guess that you feel the same way I do when it comes to staying within your budget. You’re tired. You’re frustrated. And you’re ready to give up.
At the beginning of the month, a budget sounds like a great idea. “This month I’ll really make the budget work – I can do this!” But toward the end (or the middle… or even after the first week!) things start to fall apart.
You can see it coming. Like a slow moving train wreck and you just can’t take your eyes away from the massacre.
But don’t give up. Here are three common budget blunders and how to get past them.
#1 You don’t know how much you actually spend.
Not knowing how much you spend can lead to an unrealistic budget that is impossible to stick to (no matter how hard you try).
This is my biggest problem in the “restaurant” category. I try to keep it under $100 each month but, depending on where we go, that can mean five dinners (hello McDonald’s dollar menu!) or only one (yes, the Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, I’m talking about you).
Track your spending and set aside enough money each month to reach your goals.
#2 Two words: instant gratification.
We live in a world that moves at high speed and we don’t like waiting for results. I know this all too well. In fact, my step-dad gave me the nickname “Insta-Girl” because of my impatience!
When it comes to a budget, slow and steady wins the race. Just like crash diets often fail, not giving yourself (or your spouse) time to adjust will derail your best budget intentions faster than you can say “I want it now!”
Don’t sacrifice your financial future for a (budget-busting) quick fix now.
#3 Your husband (or wife) isn’t on board.
This one is tough. I haven’t yet figured out the magic formula to get both people in a relationship on the same page when it comes to planning a budget.
Screaming, guilt, and nagging produce the opposite effect – so don’t do that. The best thing to do is practice open communication and share why sticking to a budget is important to you. Your significant other loves you and doesn’t want to see you upset or frustrated.
Work together to come up with a plan that works for both of you.
Now it’s your turn. What are you budget fixes? What helps you make it through the month and stay on track?