Being an adult is hard. Doing adult-like activities like budging your money isn’t fun, but unfortunately necessary. Check out my 5 mistakes everyone makes while budgeting. Haven’t set up a budget or maybe you tried and feel overwhelmed? Check out 3 EASY STEPS TO BUDGET LIKE AN ADULT to help you get started. Scroll to the bottom and get a free budget template too! After you’ve started, check back in so you don’t make these mistakes!
NO DEFINED GOAL
This can be as big as buying a new house or as small as putting $50 into savings each month. Maybe in the beginning of the year your goal is to buy a car, but then by March you decide you want $5,000 in your savings for a vacation. That’s fine too! Goals can change at any point, but you just need to have one. Without it, it’s a lot harder to stay focused and make tough decisions. When it’s cold and rainy, I like to go to the mall. Before I used a budget, I would just buy one or two things. Sometimes that meant spending $25 and other times that meant spending $150. Often, I couldn’t afford either! Now that I have a budget, I just plug one of those numbers in and see if its possible to still reach my goal while spending that money. That’s the purpose of your goal!
Getting organized is going to be different for each person. For me, I use a detailed excel sheet that I plug all my numbers into. (Thanks to my accountant mom who made it!) It takes me at most a half hour once a week to plan for the next month. In the beginning, it may take you a little longer because you may not fully be aware of how much you spend on each expense, but in time, it will be much quicker. Figure out what works best for you. That may be the envelope system. It may be a less detailed excel sheet. Whatever you chose, get focused, take your time and declutter your work area. Save your work on a flash drive just in case. Have all your bills ready so you can use accurate numbers. The more organized you are, the easier budgeting will become!
This is one of the easiest mistakes one can make. Your budget is no good if you are not realistic on where you spend and how much you spend. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you spend $100 a week on your nails or $1,000 a month on food. BE HONEST. No one else will see this but you. Put your hard expenses in first. This would be your basic bills like rent, electric or gas, internet, phone bills, etc. These are expenses that shouldn’t vary much from month to month. Then put in your soft expenses like shopping, food, gas for your car, getting your nails done, eating out, pet supplies, car maintenance, etc. These are expenses that might changed weekly or monthly. I like to put food and gas in this category. Although for the most part I spend the same each week on these two, there are weeks where I travel or I have house guests. But you can do whatever you want! Find what works best for you. If you’ve never started a budget, take a look back on what you spent in the last few months for each expense and start with those numbers.
LACK OF DEDICATION
No one will do this budget for you. Set some time aside each week. Pick one day, for a half hour and just get it done! There are times when I use my budget for a couple of months, I would get comfortable and skip for a few months. It happens! But how much money could I have saved if I was sticking to a budget the whole time? How much will I now have to cut back in the coming months to make up what I’ve spent, so I can still reach my goal? All i’m saying is by staying dedicated, you’ll work smarter and not harder.
At the end of the day, like everything else in life, you get out what you put in. If you take budgeting seriously, you will achieve every financial goal you set for yourself. You’ll achieve it because you’ve been organized, realistic about your income and expenses, dedicated and you thought seriously about your spending decisions. Just think of what that could mean for you or your family. Money isn’t everything, but it sure makes life a little better! Good luck!