We’ve said it many times before – creating a budget is one of the most effective ways to manage your money. However, what good is said budget if you just can’t stick to it?
Here are four reasons you might not be sticking to the budget you’ve laid out for yourself. See if any apply to you.
You’re not being realistic about your spending.
You set your budget up with the best of intentions, but maybe you went a little overboard with cutting down on spending. It might be tempting to say you’re going to cut out all of your coffee, food, or clothing purchases each month, but it’s just not very realistic. Instead, build these indulgences into your budget and identify where you might be able to cut back. For example, allow yourself to splurge on a cold brew every Friday, rather than every weekday afternoon.
You’re not accounting for miscellaneous expenses.
Simply put: things happen. A birthday party here, a flat tire there…life happens and the subsequent costs can add up. Rather than scramble when the unexpected happens, plan ahead. Build in some extra spending money each month so you’re ready if something pops up.
You haven’t updated your budget to account for lifestyle changes.
Your budget should be built around your life and, therefore, should change if and when your situation does. For example, if you’re planning to move to a more expensive apartment in the fall, account for that by altering how much you’re allowing yourself to spend or save (or both). Plus, don’t hesitate to update your goals as well.
You don’t have a goal in mind.
Why did you set up a budget in the first place? Are you hoping to save up for something in particular? Just trying to cut back on expenses? Constantly remind yourself of why you’re operating under the budget you set up, so it doesn’t feel like a punishment.
Want more advice about budgeting? Check out our starter guide, The College Student’s Guide to Budgeting.