Learning how to stick to a budget is tried and true advice when it comes to getting better with your finances. But are there occasions when you feel like that budget isn’t right for you? In other words, do you get too stressed out about it or feel like giving up even after months of tweaking and sticking to it?
You’re not alone. Creating a sticking to a budget isn’t easy but it might not be that you’re bad at budgeting. It could simply be that the budget you have isn’t working for you.
We’re not talking about how restrictive a budget feels. It’s whether or not your budget gives you room for slip ups, is reflective of the goals you set for yourself, and it it just feels right.
So let’s find out 5 surprising ways to know if a budget isn’t right for you.
You Didn’t Take Into Account All Expenses
Sometimes you forget things, it’s no big deal. When it comes to your budget though, forgetting a few expenses here and there can really add up. You’re also treading on dangerous waters if you use credit cards as that might spiral you into debt.
Take a good look at occasional expenses and whether or not you budgeted for them. Did you budget in gifts for friends and family? Car or life insurance bills that only happen once or twice a year? How about maintenance for your home or vehicle? And if you’re a business owner, did you save aside money for quarterly taxes.
Save yourself stress by allocating money each month to anticipate paying for these expenses so you won’t get caught off guard.
You’re Giving In to Your Spending Triggers
Spending triggers are emotions you feel or situations you’re in that compel you to spend your hard earned money. For example, you’d go grocery shopping differently if you were hungry, or you end up spending a little too much at your favorite clothing store.
It’s natural to want to spend money on things you like. But little purchases here and there can quickly add up and end up busting your budget. If this is the case, take a good look at your spending habits and whether or not you’re spending based on emotions.
And if you are, it’s time to find ways to curb your spending.
You Don’t Really Understanding Your Expenses
Creating a budget is an ongoing process and trying to figure out everything is hard. For example, irregular expenses like gasoline or electricity bills may be hard to estimate on a month to month basis.
The bottom line is you might need to overestimate how much you spend on these types of expenses just in case they’re higher than you think. It’ll save you the stress of feeling you’re overspending all the time.
You’re Not Honest With How Much You Spend
Let’s be honest here: a budget only works if you’re honest with it. If you’re trying to sneak purchases by here and there, you’re only hurting yourself. Not only that, but if you’re not paying attention to how much you spend or have left over until the next month, you’ll probably overspend.
There are lots of great budgeting apps that help track your spending on the go, so there’s really no excuse.
You Have a Non-Existent Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund is key if there are any unplanned expenses that pop up. For example, you have a medical bill that can’t be covered in your regular budget or you need to replace your tires sooner than later.
Emergency expenses can help you cover the costs. Just remember that an emergency fund shouldn’t be seen as regular spending money, that it’s only used in case something happens.
Sometimes you find that you don’t need a budget. But without taking a careful look at these 5 ways that your existing budget isn’t working for you, it’s hard to really tell. Remember, the goal is to help you get your spending on track, not to deprive you of anything. If you use that mindset, you’ll quickly find out if your budget is working for you.