You’ve taken the steps to actually get your budget created, but now that you have, you realize that it just isn’t working. Don’t give up! There are certain roadblocks that may be keeping you from implementing your budget, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stick to it. The CGS Team has done some research to pinpoint the most common reasons why people don’t stick to their budget, and what they can do to get back on track.
Remember, that fact that you have created a budget is half the battle, so give yourself some credit. If you can’t seem to find the time or you don’t know where to start, let City Girl Savings help! Check out the CGS Personalized Budget Plans. There is even a member special for them going on, so don’t wait!
A few reasons why your budget isn’t working…
It’s great to have a budget that allocates every last dime to each category, but what happens when unplanned or unaccounted for expenses come up? When this happens, people tend to throw their budget down the drain with the mindset that it’s already messed up anyways. Not true!
By now, we all should know that life happens and things come up that we don’t plan for. The best way to make sure unplanned expenses don’t throw your budget off is to prepare for them. Yes, sounds counterintuitive: plan of the unplanned, but it makes sense.
Create a new category in your budget for miscellaneous expenses, or emergency items. If you don’t use that money on a monthly basis, just let it sit in a savings account. In fact, we recommend creating an account just for unplanned expenses (remember that emergency fund we often stress?). You never know what will come up, so make it a little easier on yourself by including unexpected expenses in your budget.
Small Purchases that Add Up
Sure, a $1.99 chapstick or a $.99 download on iTunes certainly won’t throw your budget off. However, if you constantly buy small, cheap items, this will throw your budget off. The reason is because these small purchases add up. It’s so easy to not think twice about buying these cheap items, but that mindset is contributing to a failed budget. Read the article 5 Unexpectedly Expensive Habits to understand how daily spending on small items can seriously harm your budget.
It’s especially easy to rack up small purchases when your credit card is linked to an app. iTunes store, games that require tokens, and apps that require purchases make it extremely simple for people to “buy” what they need. While that’s how the system was designed to work, it means that users can purchase items without a second thought.
Before you get button happy, or checkout line happy, take a few minutes to think about what you are about to buy. Do you really need it? Did you purchase something similar recently? Remember that these items are not accounted for in your budget, and proceed with caution!
Too Much Work
We are not going to lie to you, sticking to a budget requires effort. However, there are ways of making it easier for yourself. We are constantly recommending automatic transfers and payments to our budget clients. Create an account just for house bills, create another just for savings, and so on.
Create as many accounts that you need to match with your budget. If you are saving for a vacation or new shoes, create an account just for that. Set up direct deposit with your employer and have your budgeted amounts automatically transferred to their respective accounts. If you allocate $50 a month for shopping, give yourself cash and once you run out, that’s it.
If you are afraid of too many accounts, or want to keep it simple, get yourself a notebook. Keep track of your receipts each day and take 10 minutes at the end of the day to write it down.
Then, depending on the timeframe of your budget (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), review your expenses to make sure you stayed within your means. A budget doesn’t have to be a negative experience, make it fun by lighting candles or treating yourself to a Starbucks when it’s time to track expenses.
Related: How to Enjoy Budgeting Your Money
It’s easy to have negative feelings associated with the thought of budgeting, but it’s all in your head! Budgeting allows you to see where your money is going and change or control it. The most important way to become financially successful is to set a budget and stick to it.
If you have extra cash each month, then treat yourself. If you aren’t saving for anything special, put half away and spend the other half. You don’t have to be too hard on yourself when creating and/or sticking to your budget. We always allocate fun spending for our budget clients, so you should too!
We want to hear from you! What are your biggest challenges when it comes to sticking to a budget? How do you go about creating your budget? What are your thoughts on the CGS Personalized Budgets? Leave a comment below!