5 SECRETS TO WHY YOUR BUDGET ISN’T WORKING.
Sticking to a budget and paying down debt is hard. It takes dedication and strength. You must be willing to go without now so you can have more later.
You may go through phases with your budget. One month you are strict with yourselves and your budget. You know where every penny goes and you keep a watchful eye on your spending. You even allocate every extra dollar to your bills.
In other months you slack off more. You go out to eat too much or you spend too much on groceries. You don’t keep track like you should and you know it.
Those are the months that come back to bite you in the butt.
There’s a balance with paying down debt and budgeting that must be kept. In order to be successful, you have to have order.
There are 5 secrets to why your budget isn’t working. Over the years J and I have found what works for us.
SECRET 1: Don’t be too strict with yourselves. Everyone needs to be able to spend money on something they want without worry.
My mom told me this story right before I was married about a cup of coffee. (I’m sure she read this or heard it somewhere, but it has stuck with me.) A young boy and his brother were brought up by a single-mom. The mom was struggling, but once a month she would make the boys a cup of coffee. They could do whatever they wanted with that cup. They could trash, drink it, give it away. She never asked questions. It was theirs.
Everyone needs a cup of coffee of their own. You need some money that you’re able to do whatever you want with. No questions asked.
You have to decide what that is between you and your spouse. J can save his money to go the boat (casino) and I don’t care if he blows it all. I can spend my money on shoes, getting my nails done. Whatever.
We make it fair. We each get a specific amount to spend. Part of mine goes towards Crossfit so I end up with less cash than J does each month. J spends some of his money on breakfast burritos. It doesn’t matter. We do not care what we spend it on.
SECRET 2: You’ve lost your motivation.
Money is stressful. Bills are stressful. Sometimes you get overwhelmed and start to lose focus. You need to be reminded why you are following a budget.
I recommend pulling out your debt snowball information or your budget. Look it over and remember why you are doing this.
SECRET 3: You’re spending too much in one area.
You need to check your budget on a monthly basis (or more!). Make sure you aren’t spending too much in one category and coming up short in another. If you’re cable bill is over $100 and you struggle paying for gas to get to work then you have a problem. Look at cutting your monthly expenses to free up money where you need it.
SECRET 4: Realize that media is affecting you.
Commercials, advertisements, social media are made to influence consumers. Everyday people are bombarded with outside influences that scream “buy me!” You have to realize this and think hard before purchasing.
Everyone needs a cooling off period when mad or overwhelmed. So why not do the same when buying something? Don’t let the cute little kid pushing Halos on TV influence you to buy them. Especially when no one in your family will eat them! You have to be smarter than Marketers. It’s hard, they are good. So good.
I recommend taking cash with you when shopping. They way you spend what you have and nothing more.
SECRET 5: You’re not prepared.
You need to think like a boy scout – always be prepared. That’s why having an emergency fund is critical when paying down debt.
I remember when J and I were on a roll with paying down debt, we woke up to our fridge going out. I worried about paying our bills and not being able to buy food. At that point, J reminded me about our emergency fund. We had a little over $1,000 in that account.
We went to a discount appliance store, you know the kind – scratch and dent. We found a great fridge for a fraction of what the other stores were charging. It had a few scraps down the side, but the way our kitchen is, you can’t even see them.
There was no struggle. Every bill was still paid. We were still able to eat.
You must be prepared for the unexpected.
There you have 5 secrets to why your budget isn’t working for you. Now you have the ins and outs of making a budget work for you.