Budgeting can make or break your finances, and it can make or break your life goals. Unfortunately, it’s way easier to break a budget than to get it right. Here are six reasons you can’t stick to a budget—and how to get it right.
1. You’re unrealistic.
We all want to be able to have unlimited amounts of money; however, unless you’ve recently sold a hot internet company, you probably have to live in the real world with me. So, if you want to stick to your budget, make sure it’s realistic. Look at your bank account and get a realistic picture of where your money is going. Once you have that, then start slow, and shave off a $20 a month from your “trouble spots” (i.e. eating out, shopping, entertainment) until you’re spending what you can afford.
2. You think budgeting is too complicated.
Don’t be scared. Budgets are fun! Budgets allow you to stop feeling guilty after you spend money. Even if you spend money on a splurge item, you’ve planned for it. That’s where your money is supposed to go. Start by breaking down your monthly expenses into spending categories. Some people like to have a lot of spending categories. I don’t. It makes the process too complicated. I simplify our budget by only having a few categories: house, utilities, giving, food, cars, and shopping. Those categories cover our entire monthly budget, and it only takes a few minutes to do. So start simply, and you can always add more categories as you get better at sticking to your budget.
3. You’re spending too much.
Don’t be like Uncle Sam! Make sure you don’t have a budget deficit by comparing what you make to what you’re spending. If you’re spending more than you make, start by realizing that is unsustainable. You want to give yourself a bright future, so making sure you’re at least not overspending is the first step. After you get your budget under control, then you can start saving. But worry about cutting down on spending first!
4. You aren’t giving it enough time.
It took my husband and me months to get a working budget. Actually, about 6 months. So, don’t give up if your budget doesn’t work the first month. Odds are, it probably won’t. If you are training for a marathon, you don’t expect to run 26.2 miles the first day. It’s the same with budgets. It just takes time to get it right. Just think of your first couple months as training, and soon you’ll be a budget master.
5. You’re not writing it down.
If you don’t write down your budget, it will be almost impossible to stick with. Writing it down transforms your budget from an idea to a plan. Plus, you’ll want to reference your budget in the future, so writing it down will be a record of how far you’ve come.
6. You’re not excited about it.
Let’s face it, if you don’t want to do something, you’re probably not going to do it. So, get excited about budgeting! Budgets are your opportunity to plan your future. Want to become debt free? Want to buy a house? Want to buy that new bag you’ve been drooling over? By creating a budget, you’re one step closer to your goal. That’s something no one will be able to take away from you.
By sticking to a budget you can transform your life from out of control to fully in control. Also, you will be able to pursue your dreams. Use these six tips to make sure you’re sticking to your budget so you will be able to get where you want to be.
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