A budget is no fun. Who wants to say no to that delicious gourmet latte after juggling kids, work and life in general? As much as it stinks to limit spending, a budget is a necessity, especially when you have kids who need diapers, food and a roof over their heads. If you constantly run out of money faster than expected, you may be sabotaging yourself without realizing it. Can you avoid these five common budget blunders?
Mistake 1: Not Having a Budget
Raise your hand if you’re guilty. It’s okay to admit it, but now is the time to create one. You need a budget, even if you make plenty of money to cover your expenses. You may even find extra money you can put toward that new outfit you’re eyeing.
Mistake 2: Fudging the Numbers
Be honest. How much do you really spend on those meals out and daily coffees? Do you even know how much you lay out on extras? A budget is only useful if it accurately represents your financial situation. It might look better on paper to list your entertainment expenses at $100 a month, but if you actually spend $300 most months, your budget will always be out of balance.
The easiest way to make your budget accurate is by tracking your spending to get realistic numbers instead of guessing. For at least a month, record everything you spend. It takes some work initially, but ultimately it will help keep your spending under control.
Mistake 3: Following an Outdated Budget
That little black dress in your closet holds up over time, but your budget isn’t something you can leave indefinitely without revisiting. Expenses change and income fluctuates, and your spending habits aren’t always consistent. Review your budget regularly to check for overspending and make adjustments when needed.
Mistake 4: Giving in to Urges
No matter how accurate your budget numbers are, they don’t do you any good if you ignore them. Look, we get it, parenting takes a lot of energy. Who has time to check the budget between PTO meetings, diaper changes and temper tantrums? But learning to say no to splurges you don’t really need is essential to staying on track financially.
Mistake 5: Skipping Savings
You have plenty of time to save, right? Wrong! An effective budget builds in savings for those months when you spend more than you planned. Look at your budget and find places to cut back so you can bulk up your savings account for a rainy day. Once you get a financial safety net in place, you don’t have to stress as much.