Do you have a budget but feel like you’re not making ANY progress toward your financial goals?
Are you trying to pay off debt or save up for a large purchase, but your progress is painfully slow?
Or worse, you feel like you take one step forward and then two steps back?
If you know why you need a budget and you’ve already created one, then you could be feeling this way because you’re making one or more of these mistakes with your budget! My husband and I paid off $120,000 of debt on a single, middle-class income, and we credit our success in large part to creating a monthly budget that works for our family.
But it definitely wasn’t perfect in the beginning, and we still tweak it each month as our needs, income, and expenses change.
If your monthly budget isn’t working for you, here are three mistakes you might be making:
Mistake #1: You didn’t involve your partner.
If you’re married and you didn’t involve your spouse in the planning process, you’re setting both of you up for failure and resentment.
It’s so important that you’re both on the same page, especially when it comes to your finances.
Even if you have separate bank accounts, you should have common goals for your money.
What’s the solution?
Make a plan to bring your partner into the action to get his or her input.
[bctt tweet=”Make sure your partner is on the same page with your #budget.” username=”MonicaRLouie”]
If you’re single, then enlist the help of an accountability partner to keep you on track and working toward your goals.
Mistake #2: You might be missing some budget busters.
What are budget busters?
They’re those sneaky expenses that seem to come out of nowhere.
Just when you think you’re finally going to be able to pay extra toward your credit card or contribute to your summer vacation fund, suddenly, the car needs new tires or your son needs new cleats for baseball.
It seems like there’s always something to throw your plan off course, right?
Common budget busters are those items that occur infrequently or perhaps only once or twice a year, such as insurance premiums, taxes, car repairs, home repairs, membership dues, and fees for your kids’ activities.
What’s the solution?
Make sure you’ve included categories in your budget for all of your non-monthly expenses, and don’t forget to include gifts and clothing. Review your bank accounts and credit card statements to find any categories that may be missing from your budget and then create a plan to add those in.
Mistake #3: Your budget is too strict.
Maybe you forgot to include some categories in your budget, or perhaps you thought you could go without.
As a financial coach, I work with super motivated people who want to get out of debt, like yesterday, which is awesome. I love the go-getter attitude of wanting to break free from debt now rather than letting it linger for months or years on end.
But that same voracious attitude can lead to frustration and discouragement when they realize that they’ve tried to cut back on their spending a little too much.
You might think that you and your spouse can put off buying clothes for a couple of years and never, ever, EVER go out to eat again. But when your favorite work pants get a hole you-know-where or you didn’t have time to run to the grocery store to pick up items for your daily sack lunch, you’ll wish that you had given yourself a little margin in your budget.
Because let’s face it, at some point you’re going to need at least some new socks and underwear, and it’s unlikely that you’ll never eat out again.
What’s the solution?
Review the categories in your budget where you’re consistently spending more than you planned. Consider whether you overspent because of a lack of discipline or you were trying to be too ambitious.
I’d rather you ease up a little bit on the numbers and extend your deadline for your goals by a month or two than get discouraged and give up entirely thinking that budgeting doesn’t work.
[bctt tweet=”Make sure to add in a little fun money to your #budget to keep you on track.” username=”MonicaRLouie”]
And make sure that you add in a little fun money to your budget too. I’m all for scrimping and saving where you can, but your monthly budget won’t be realistic without allocating some money for fun and entertainment.
If your budget has been more of a nuisance than a blessing in reaching your financial goals, then at least one of these three common budgeting mistakes might be the reason.
Once you conquer these, you’ll have a greater chance of achieving budgeting success and you’ll be able to accomplish your goals faster.
Now I’d love to hear about you!
What mistakes have you made with your budget? And what did you do to resolve them? Please share in the comments below.
Have you joined our free private community on Facebook yet?
I invite you to join me in our private Facebook group called Your Debt Freedom Family, where I share more tips like this. We’ve got a fantastic community of people who are kicking debt to the curb so they can break free and live life on their terms.
I’d love to see you there!
Keep moving forward toward your goals. You really can live the life you dream about!