Budgeting can be an easy task. What is not easy is finding the time, committing to the discipline, and exercising consistency. While some find budgeting easy, others find it very frustrating and are left discouraged. Sometimes to the point where they give up altogether. This does not have to be you. You can achieve your financial goals by budgeting if you can find what you’re doing wrong. Below are 4 reasons your budget isn’t working and how to fix it.
You Don’t Have A Goal
Setting a goal is the first step to creating a budget. Ignoring this step could be the reason your budget isn’t working. Without a set goal you can not know whether your budget is making the impact on your spending that you want it to. This will lead to feelings of doubt and frustration. Setting arbitrary goals is also just as bad as setting no goals at all. Arbitrary goals will not motivate you to stick to your budget, thus continuing the cycle of failure and frustration.
The solution is to create meaningful, thoughtful, and intentional goals. This will increase your motivation to adhere to your budget. It will also eliminate the feeling of frustration as you can now easily see how close you are to your goals.
Check out this blog on strategies to create your budget goals [Personal Finance: Setting Goals].
You Are Too Rigid
A good budget is a flexible budget. There will be circumstances where, from time-to-time, you will be required to spend more than you had anticipated. If your budget is too rigid, when this happens, you’ll feel like you have failed. This is usually when people will quit their budget altogether. However, your budget should be shaped by your life, not your life shaped by your budget. Therefore, if your car breaks down; if your sister surprises you with a visit for the weekend; or if your eldest son needs a new pair of shoes for school, you can make space in your budget to accommodate what is happening in your life. If you find you’re frequently going over your budget, spend the time to examine your spending patterns. Once you’ve found the problem, you can work actively to break that habit.
You’re Not Paying Attention To It
One of the reasons your budget isn’t working is you’re not giving it the required attention. Good budgeting requires attention and intention. Spending frugally one week then irresponsibly the next will reflect poorly in your budget. Additionally, diligently tracking your spending one month then ignoring it the next will make budgeting even harder and more frustrating for you.
Consistently giving your budget attention will lead to changed behavior in spending. This in turn will increase the likelihood of achieving your savings goal. Find a time that is convenient to you to track your spending whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Before you impulsively spend, look to see if there’s room in your budget. If there is not, then shelf the item and buy it another time. Your budget will not work if you don’t put effort into it.
Your Household Is Not On The Same Page
The most successful households are those where the members work together to achieve a common goal. If you are thrifty and your partner is wasteful then your household budget will not work. Any savings you achieve will be quickly diminished by your partner’s reckless spending. Budgeting will become frustrating and could put a strain on your relationship. This could be one of the reasons your budget isn’t working.
The solution is for you and your partner to meet in the middle. Find where you can compromise that allows your partners to enjoy themselves within reason, and where they can compromise to ensure they are working towards the household budget goals. This may not happen overnight, but with coorporation and communication soon budgeting will be successful and easy for both parties.
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