Since we’re all in this Budgeting 101 together, let me be clear peeps; Although I use a budget for all those daily life “˜things,” occasionally I slack off. It’s natural; I’m human. Budgeting and keeping track of all monies in and out is mostly a way to maintain staying on track, and not ending up in debt. Most of the time, I am pretty rigid with the family budget, but sometimes, a little luxury falls through the cracks. And that’s OK, as long as it’s only sometimes and I get back on track right away.
However, a lot of people struggle with budgeting. You may be one of them. It all begins with the best intentions, deciding what money needs to be allocated to major expenses (think rent, utilities, car, groceries – you get the gist). All excited and ready to start living the frugal life, you set out on your new budgeting journey. It’s exciting. At first, you feel in control of your finances, but at the end of the month, something has gone terribly, horribly wrong. It’s OK, relax. We’ve all been there. Suddenly your bank account that looked so great 30 days ago is looking a bit peckish. What happened? Your initial attempt at budgeting has failed.
Let me share with you three reasons I believe we struggle with a budget. Not including that we are human with wants and desires that look like the Joneses next door.
- Your budget is too restrictive. I keep talking about living on a shoestring, but honestly folks, you can’t be so tight that there is no room for error or If your budget says $1000/month (yes, I know it’s unrealistic with rents, mortgages, etc., but it’s a neat round number) for your expenses, there can’t be $999 worth of expenses. That’s trouble, my friends. If this is YOUR struggle, you need to sit down with a calculator and a pad and work out your total incoming monies, and then compare to what goes out. You need a little breathing room. Re-evaluate, re-assess and begin again. There is no fail here.
- Money out exceeds money coming in. This is super obvious peeps. You MUST sit down and balance your books. Every month you spend more than you make puts you deeper into debt. It’s a nasty cycle and one that is hard to break. Be honest – if you see yourself here, then it’s time to be tougher on yourself. Make sure your incoming money covers all your basic expenses and necessities (key word here) and figure out if you need to add to that pot. The how is for another post somewhere down the line.
- You are not honest about what you’re spending. This is a BIG one my lovelies. It’s by far the hardest to work out because you must become transparent with your spending habits. It’s useless to have a budget if you are not adding in all the miscellaneous expenditures. This includes the random lunch or dinner with friends, GNO at a bar, a shopping trip to your nearest mall, etc. All these extras add up, so wise up, tighten up and GET REAL.
OK, let’s be honest peeps, budgeting can be REALLY hard. It is a total brain drain always to remember the numbers in your “out” column and to think about how you can allocate your monies. BUT, budgeting is a major factor to your (and you family’s) success. If you are always aware of how much is coming in monthly, and how much is going out, then you can work your long term goals around that information. Knowing your budget lets, you tweak your spending habits so that you can remain debt free. Willpower is a big plus. Think twice about that new pair of shoes, the fancy dinner out or the luxury vacation. Do you NEED it? Probably not. By flexing your willpower muscle, you can stick to your budget. And yes, I know it is easier said than done but well worth it in the long run.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕