4 Budgeting Mistakes You Should Avoid
I have blown a budget before, and this made me feel like budgeting is not for me. However, I have learned that creating a budget and sticking to it is a skill, and just like any other skill, it requires ample time to master. Therefore, you should not give up if you keep making certain budgeting mistakes. You would be surprised to know that most of these mistakes have quick fixes. I have compiled several budgeting mistakes and how you can avoid them.
I have come to realize that I can’t stick to a budget unless I set clear and well defined financial goals. If you are working towards a certain milestone and seeking to achieve certain objectives, you are more likely to create a budget and stick to it. When I first created a budget, I only did it because everyone told me that it’s the best thing to do. I didn’t have the slight motivation within me to create and stick to a budget.
If you make this mistake, you will feel like the budget is a burden to you since it will prevent you from spending money on the things you desire. However, if you have the motivation and a clear goal for budgeting, you will be committed all the way. In my case, I started budgeting because I wanted to get out of debt. After several years of consistent budgeting and following the budget, I was able to work my way out of debt. Your financial goals will be a big factor in helping you stick to your budgeting routine.
Whenever I am budgeting, I try to be as realistic as possible. I try not to make the mistake of being unrealistic about my spending. If you are under budget, you will end up with less money, making it hard for you to meet all your expenses. I realized that if I under budget, I end up spending more than I intend, which makes me feel discouraged.
One mistake that could make you create an unrealistic budget is comparing your life to others’ lives. You should not compare yourself to other people or try to create a budget based on their lives. Instead, you should be honest about your spending habits and financial goals.
After creating a budget, you have to be accountable and track all your expenses. I recommend that you include all expenses in your budget, including the one-time expenses. If you fail to include some expenses in your budget, you will end up borrowing from other budget categories, which will disorganize the budget. You will have unexpected expenses coming up, including weddings, schools, and reunions. You should ensure that you capture any possible expense to avoid adjustments in the future. After including all expenses in the budget, you should track your expenses to ensure that you don’t go beyond your budget limits.
I once made the mistake of creating a very restricting budget. Within a short time, I had given up and abandoned the budget. If you cut too many things from the budget, the chances are high that you won’t have the willpower to follow the budget. Extreme budgeting is more like a restrictive diet. You can’t stick to it forever without burning out. An overly restrictive diet is not only tiring but also demotivating. If you confine yourself to a restrictive budget for too long, you might end up going on a spending binge due to the pressure.
If the mistakes outlined above sound familiar, you need to make some changes in your budgeting strategy. You shouldn’t give up on budgeting at the first sign of difficulty. You only need to admit that you have made a mistake and then change your strategy.