Maybe you have the perfect budget and have no problems living on it, but that's not true for my family. Every month, I struggle with my budget weak spot and try to keep spending under control.
What's My Budget Weak Spot?
For me (and thus my family since I'm usually the one planning meals and cooking), our budget weak spot is dining out. I love going out to eat – the food is good and I don't have to prepare it (or clean up). However, dining out for a family of 4 can really add up quickly and completely bust our budget (not to mention our waist lines).
We have a dining out category in our budget, but in order to save money for the future it's not as high as I'd like. We typically order pizza on Saturday nights and then can eat out a couple additional times during the month (if we work out the discounts). But, I'm really tempted to eat out much more every month.
What's Your Budget Weak Spot?
However, maybe you don't struggle with your budget for eating out, but instead something else like your clothing or entertainment budget. Which one budget category to find yourself struggling with month after month? That's likely your budget weak spot.
How to Fix the Problem
Unfortunately, there's no magic fix to automatically make your budget problems disappear. However, knowing your weak spot can help you prepare better to resist the temptation to spend.
For example, in order to lower our dining out budget, I make sure that I consistently meal plan each week and then make a weekly grocery shopping trip. If I know what we're going to eat, have the groceries in the fridge or freezer, and plan ahead to defrost meat, it's much easier to go with the plan and cook at home. I don't have the stress of trying to plan last-minute and then caving in with eating out.
Whatever your budget weak spot is, recognize it and come up with ways that you can help yourself stay on track. If you struggle with shopping for clothing or shoes, stay out of the stores (or off websites) where you'll be most tempted. If you struggle with spending too much on entertainment, come up with fun ways to spend time at home. You could rent movies, invite friends over for dinner or a game night, or use coupons to extend your entertainment budget further.
What's your budget weak spot? Do you have any solutions that work for you?