Don’t know why you can’t stick to your budget? Here are the most common reasons people break their budgets, plus budgeting tips from financial expert Harrine Freeman.
Before her tips, a quip:
“A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.” – William Feather.
One way to stick to your spending plan is to allow yourself “wiggle room”, which allows you to enjoy a little financial freedom. Freeman describes wiggle room in her steps to setting and achieving your budget goals. For more financial info, click on her book How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously.
Reasons You Can’t Stick to Your Budget
1. “Budget” is viewed as a dirty word. Creating a financial budget sounds scary and overwhelming – which makes it difficult to follow. Instead of “budget”, try these terms instead: spending plan, money diary, or money register. They don’t sound as restrictive, which relieves some of the stress that comes with setting and achieving your budget goals.
2. Many people create a budget or spending plan, and abandon it. To achieve your financial goals, you have to admit that you need to change your spending habits. To stick to your budget, you need to change the way you think about money. Having a budget requires discipline and provides accountability — and there are simple steps to creating a spending plan that works.
4 Easy Budgeting Tips
1. Make your budget flexible. If your spending plan is too rigid, it’ll be difficult to follow. Add some wiggle room in your budget, to make it easier to achieve your financial goals (such as retirement planning or saving for a family vacation).
2. Align your budget with your life goals. “Your family or individual budget has to align with your life priorities, or it won’t work,” says Sonya VandeKerkhof, creator of Conscious Budget and Debt Reduction. “To stick to your budget goals, you have to be honest about your life priorities.”
3. Discuss finances with every member of the family, and hold family meetings to discuss the household finances. Explain to your children that an iPhone purchase will prevent buying groceries, paying a utility bill or saving up to go to Disneyland. Every family member has to see the impact of their spending; this helps everyone in the family develop good spending habits.
4. Check in every day. “The biggest mistake people make with budgets is not checking daily,” says VandeKerkhof. “Budgets should be a day-to-day life style choice – a daily habit.” To achieve your budget goals, never let more than three days pass without monitoring your spending plan.
Questions about or tips for sticking to your budget? Comments welcome below…
Harrine Freeman of Freeman Enterprises is a personal finance expert and freelance writer. Her passion is to educate consumers about personal finance and help them improve their financial future.