5 Things that can Blow your Budget and How to Avoid Them

by Traci K. on July 28, 2010

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No matter what you are budgeting for, it can be incredibly difficult to stay within your budget if you aren’t careful. Budgets require careful maintenance and attention, and it’s easy to blow your budget if you aren’t paying attention. Here are 5 things that can cause you to blow your money instead of watching your proverbial budget waistline.

1)  Stop Tracking Your Expenses: If you stop tracking your expenses completely, you will most likely exceed one or more portions of your budget. A budget is better kept when you stay aware of how much you have left in a given category, or in some cases envelope.

Solution: Be diligent in tracking your expenses and checking your budget balances regularly. If you’re using an online software, it can be as simple as logging into a website for 3 minutes. Or, if you’re using the envelope method it takes 3 seconds to check your leftover cash.

2)  Impulse Purchases: Impulse purchases can bite into your budget with a vengeance. Whether you always pick up extra items on your grocery trip or your spouse made a large online purchase without asking first, impulse purchases add up quickly and if left unchecked can blow your budget.

Solution: Plan for some impulse purchases by budgeting for some impulse purchases. When you find yourself grabbing something that isn’t on the list, take a few minutes to step back and think about if you really need this item right now or if it can wait. And if you have the money in your budget to buy it. Sometimes slowing down to analyze is all you need to control impulse spending.

3)  Unrealistic Budgeting: If your actual budget is completely unrealistic, you will exceed your budget amount. While budgeting aggressively is a good thing, make sure your budget is realistic with a set of small decreases that step down instead of trying to cut too much too fast.

Solution: Double check your budget figures to make sure they are reasonable. If you find out mid-month that they are unreasonable, sit down and recalculate. Smaller, reachable steps are better than unreachable leaps.

4)  Poor Planning: If you are taking a day trip, car ride, or spending a long day running errands you will need to eat and drink during the day. If you don’t plan ahead, you can end up eating out which can quickly blow your budget.

Solution: The night before or morning of your new day, take a few minutes to plan ahead. Think about if you’ll need food or drinks with you and plan accordingly to avoid unnecessary purchases.

5)  Family Cooperation and Miscommunication: If your spouse isn’t on board with your budget plans, or there was a misunderstanding about your budget and planning purchases, your budget can be blown very quickly.

Solution: Talk with your spouse or family members calmly and candidly. Be sure to elicit feedback and participation so that everyone’s needs and wants are addressed. Most of all, be sure everyone understand and agrees to the expectations and why a budget is important.

No matter what the reason for your budget mishap: learn from it, fix it, and keep going! It’s an evolving process that works differently for everyone.

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