Budgets are living, breathing, documents. They will need to change as your lifestyle changes. These changes need to be done intentionally and not accidentally. How do you do this with your budget?
Pay attention to it for starters. The biggest mistake people make is to ignore the budget they have just put together. It is easy to assume that everything will take care of itself now that your monster spread sheet is put together or that you have set everything up on mint.com. But, alas, it simply isn’t that easy.
I will let you in on something, even if you used my budget template as I suggested, you forgot something on your budget. There is a bill that will come due that wasn’t part of your initial tracking period. That is OK. You will just need to adjust your budget now. Is it ok to change your budget? If it is intentional, absolutely. Budgets change, the problem arise when you simply overspend, without planning. You will need to adjust your budget several times until you have it to a good place and then you will, hopefully, get a raise or something else will change in your financial life that will require you to change or even rewrite your budget.
Understanding that your budget is a living document will help you not stress out when things come up that you require you to make adjustments.
What could I have forgotten?
Did you put money aside for the Holidays? That is one of the biggest times to destroy your budget. Save money for travel, gifts and extra workout equipment to get rid of those holiday meals meals.
Bills that don’t come due every month; Car insurance, homeowners insurance; subscription fees.
Do you have an emergency fund? Cars need repairs, hot water tanks blow up. If you don’t want to blow your budget you need to have money put aside for these things, they will happen.
It also helps to give yourself an allowance so you have some money to spend when you want something. Leaving yourself out of the budget will lead to burnout.
What else can you do to improve your budget?
You will need to make changes to your budget, it is inevitable. Make them carefully and deliberately, not during emotionally charged moments. Don’t sweat it, life changes, change with it.
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