There are a number of things that can throw your budget out of whack. For many, it’s usually an emergency expense or the holidays.
The good news is you can get back on track. Whether you start by tracking your expenses or you start using the envelope system, you can get back on budget when you’ve fallen off track.
Track Your Expenses
One of the best things to do when you’ve fall off track is to track your expenses. You want to track everything you purchase and how you paid for it. This will be eye-opening. You won’t believe how easy it is to start overspending in certain categories.
Determine Where You’re Overspending
Once you’ve tracked your expenses, determine where you’re overspending. Are you spending more on groceries than you budgeted for? Are you spending more play/entertainment money than you should? Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. There are budget busters that can easily ruin your budget. The key is to learn from those mistakes.
Ask Yourself If You’re Being Realistic
When many people make a budget for the first time, they are unrealistic about how much needs to be budgeted for certain expenses. This is especially true when it comes to groceries.
You want to look back at your tracked expenses and determine if you really need to spend that much money or not. Were you buying food that your family actually needed or were you buying junk food? Did you spend more money one month to restock your pantry and freezer? If so, set a smaller budget for the next month to cover the costs.
Use the Cash Envelope System
The cash envelope system is one of the best for helping people stay on track. You put the budgeted cash into an envelope and use it to pay for a certain expense, such as groceries. That’s all the money you get for that month. If you have money left over, you can roll it into the next month or put the money in savings.
Be Ahead of the Game
You never want to pay for the holidays over the course of a couple months. Instead, you want to start saving for the holidays as soon as possible. Many people have gift closets and buy presents throughout the year to cut the costs down or spread out the cost. This way you stay on budget during the holiday season.
It can be hard to stick to a budget in the beginning, but the key is to always keep trying. It may take a while before you find the right budget for your family. Keep at it until you’re comfortable and can stay on track.