If you’ve done your homework and made a budget you might be surprised to see that it’s not working. Setting and sticking to a budget are two different things that require different skills. Most people that have a budget find that creating it was much easier than sticking to it.
Read on to learn 7 reasons that your budget might not be working.
Your Budget Is Far Too Strict
In an effort to save money, a lot of people are tempted to skim and save as much as possible. That means you may cut back on your food allowance and forget to include an entertainment fund.
Unfortunately, all work and no play makes life pretty dull and it also makes it really easy to cheat on your budget, causing it to fail. To remedy the situation, choose just 1 or 2 areas to skimp on so you don’t feel the hurt of saving money all at once.
Dieting works the same way. If you cut out all junk food and go on a strict diet, there’s no way you can maintain that. Inevitably you’ll go on an eating binge since the change was too drastic.
You Haven’t Set Any Savings Goals
Everyone does better when they have a prize for good work. You need to infuse your brain with endorphins and dopamine, which are released when you achieve goals, even small ones.
Having a goal for your saving can make it easier to stick to your budget. Whether you’re saving for a downpayment on a house or going on a dream vacation, having a light at the end of the tunnel can make it easier to stay on track.
You Don’t Adjust Your Budget
Your budget won’t be perfect from day 1 and you’ll likely need to make adjustments as life changes. Whether you have a large expense come up like preschool for a child or the cost of living just increases, you’ll need to adjust your budget once in a while to keep things running smoothly.
It’s good to periodically visit your budget to determine what’s working and what isn’t working. Aim to review it every month in the beginning and then every 6 months or quarterly after that.
Your Spouse Isn’t Sticking To The Budget
If you’re a saver married to a spender, it can be easy to go over budget. Remember that when you’re part of a partnership, both partners need to be on board to keep the budget on track.
If only one of you is sticking to the budget plan, your budget is never going to work.
You Didn’t Make A Fund For Emergencies
Having a working budget is great – until your car breaks down or someone gets hospitalized. Emergency expenses can derail even the most carefully planned budget, so it’s important to create an emergency fund to cover these types of expenses.
Ideally you’ll have 6 months of living expenses in it, but if you can only scrape up $100, it’s better than nothing. Anytime you get some extra money (like a work bonus), deposit it into your emergency savings account until it reaches the desired amount.
You Didn’t Stick With It Long Enough
Your budget won’t work perfectly from day one. You need to give it several months to smooth out and to adjust before you can really tell if it’s working. If your goal is to save money, expect to not put anything into your savings account until the third, fourth or even fifth month as you make adjustments to your budget where needed.
You’re Really Opposed To The Idea Of A Budget
If you don’t like the idea of a budget to begin with, it’ll be hard to stick with it. If you hate budgeting, it may be wiser to try a different money management technique that you may have more success with. One way doesn’t work for everyone, so if budgeting isn’t right for you it’s better to cut your losses and find something that does work.
To make budgeting less painful, use a budgeting smartphone app. The colors, graphics and sounds may be enough for you to convince you to keep sticking to your budget.