How to get your budget back on track when you’ve got so lazy recently!
We’ve all been here. We create our budgets carefully or by semi plucking figures out of the air thinking that will be plenty to live on.
A couple of months down the line and reality sinks in and sticking to the budget becomes hard work.
You don’t want to be working hard at keeping your budget on track when you are working hard at your job. Don’t you deserve to be kind to yourself and treat yourself?
Well yes, but you need to recognise that ‘yourself’ isn’t necessarily today’s yourself. You need to be kind to your future self.
Yourself today has already spent the budget, if you carry on spending you are taking money from your future self. Don’t do that.
Take a step back and think about what you truly want. Do you really want to be in debt and forever worrying about the debt you carry and whether it will get bigger?
Or do you want to get your budget back on track? I am sure what you actually want is to be free from the worry of debt and free to spend your hard earned wages on what you truly want.
But to get to that point you do need to pay off debt and you do need to stick to a budget.
You only have a finite amount of money and you will want to make it stretch as far as possible.
ONE – Take a deep breath
Acknowledging that you haven’t stuck to your plan can be hard but it’s the first step in moving forward and getting you back to where you want to be. Take a deep breath and tell yourself it is going to be ok. because you are going to get your budget back on track.
The fact you are having this conversation with yourself is a great first step. Being honest with yourself is extremely important if you are going to get your finances and budget under control.
Acknowledge your overspending
TWO – Remember why you had a budget
Think about why you had a budget in the first place. Was its because you have debts to pay or dreams to save for?
Think about what it will feel like once you have paid off those debts or saved up enough to fulfil your dream.
Debt is like a heavy cloak around your shoulders dragging you down. Think about how much weight will be lifted form you once you have paid off your debts and got back on track with your budget.
Think about what you can do with the extra money you would then have each month.
Promise yourself you will make the changes necessary
THREE – Revisit your budget
Look at the budget you set, get your figures out and review them. Look at what is happening in reality – which part of the budget is not working & why?
Identify where the money is leaking that shouldn’t be – you need to know where the money is going so you can rectify it.
Ensure you do not create a blame culture – no shame no blame. It is what it is and now you are going to do something about it.
If you have a partner/spouse then this really needs to be a joint effort. If your budget is blown it is unlikely to be only one of you doing the excess spending.
Where it is only one then you will need to look at how you can support that person to bring their spending back in line.
You will want to understand why their spending is higher than planned, what is making them spend more when they have previously agreed to a spending budget?
Be upfront about your own spending failures, ensure your partner doesn’t feel you are blaming them.
Communication is absolutely key to getting your budget back on track. Whether that is having honest conversations with your partner or with yourself.
We can all delude ourselves if we want to. The key is to be honest with yourself and your partner.
Identify where you money is really going
FOUR – Comparing your original budget with the reality
Was your budget set up correctly or was it too aspirational? Looking at what you have ended up spending each month, review each budget line and create a new budget figure for each.
Some you might be able to reduce, others might need tightening up. Perhaps you forgot to account for birthday presents?
Meals at work
You know you can save money here and get your budget back on track but maybe always packing your lunch won’t work for you? Give yourself one day a week where you buy your lunch.
You are more likely to stick to your budget if you allow yourself something in this category if you are currently overspending here.
Did you cut this out completely from your budget and it has sneaked back in again? Perhaps you need to factor in some eating out but significantly less than you are used to?
If you know you will be eating out say next week then it makes it easy not give in to temptation this week
Most of us have left winter behind so now is the time to make the most of what nature has to offer us for free. Take a walk in the woods, visit a park and soak up the sunshine, the noises and smells of nature around you.
Join like minded friends and have a BBQ or pot luck supper.
Now is the time to wear everything you have in your wardrobe. Put a complete ban on clothes shopping or even window shopping for clothes.
I bet you have no need for any new clothes for at least a few months, Mrs Frugalwoods didn’t buy herself any new clothes for over 2 years. That woman is hardcore!
Review your monthly utility bills
If you haven’t done so already take an afternoon to price compare all your bills. £10 a month saved here and there will really add up.
If you have a water meter then you might be able to save money on your water bill
Pay special attention to your cable/sky package, there is always a deal to be done here. If you threaten to leave (or ask if your bill can be reduced as you can no longer afford the payments) you are highly likely to be offered a lower bill.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get folks!
Read 150 proven ways to save money for many more brilliant ideas.
Identify where your spending has gone awry. Is it on entertainment or eating out? Is it on meals for work or clothes?
When you know where the blips are you can take action to address them.
Create a new more realistic budget based on your true spending
FIVE – Track your spending
Tracking or recording everything you spend is a great way to see what and where your money goes. Tracking your spending will keep you focused on what is happening to your money every week.
If you can involve your partner in this even better. Review where you are every week. Don’t leave it until the end of the month – it is too late then.
You need to know if you slip up so you can sort it out quickly before the overspend mushrooms.
If you are tracking your spending then there are no surprises with your budget. You know what you’ve spent, where you’ve spent and when you did so.
Track everything you spend and review it weekly
Don’t take on further debt as a way of masking your spending. You are in control of your budget.
If you decide that there will be no holiday abroad this year then that is your decision, and you need to stick to it.
What you mustn’t do is stick the holiday payments on another credit card. You are cheating yourself and your plans.
Once you make peace with yourself and your overspending you will find you are able to move forward.
Acknowledging what has gone before without blaming others is key to your success.
A reminder of the 5 steps to get your budget back on track:
- Acknowledge your overspending
- Promise yourself you will make the changes necessary
- Identify where you money is really going
- Create a new more realistic budget based on your true spending
- Track everything you spend and review it weekly
With these 5 steps you can get your budget back on track. Remember, you deserve to be in control of your money, not the other way round.
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