It happens. You have a budget, and something comes along, and you fall off the wagon. It might be illness, emergencies or even a spending spree (like the holidays or a birthday). Whatever the reason, it happens. The good news is that you are not alone. The better news is that you can get back on track quickly and easily.
Don’t focus on what happened, but rather on putting that behind you and getting back on track. And, as you address these issues, make sure you have a plan in place, so you don’t let it happen to you again!
GETTING YOUR BUDGET BACK ON TRACK
1. Stop spending
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? The truth is that if you’ve been spending a little too freely, this can be difficult. You have to remind yourself to stick with buying the things you only need, such as food, utilities, and shelter. Don’t buy the extra things like lunch out with friends, that new bag or upgrade your phone.
Start there – STOP spending money!
Read more: 12 Reasons Why You Keep Overspending
2. Figure out what went wrong & plan ahead
You didn’t blow your budget for just any reason. Something came up that pushed you off course. Maybe it was the car broke down, and you did not have the money to pay for it. It might be that it was summer and you just spent time relaxing rather than focusing on budgeting.
Whatever the reason, figure it out. And then, make sure you are ready so that if it happens again (and trust me, it probably will), you are ready. Build up your savings account or add a spending cushion in your budget.
Read more: Planning for the Unexpected
3. Start over with the budget
Think back to the day you were motivated and sat down and tackled your budget. You had a sense of excitement and anticipation, right? You need to get that same feeling back again.
If you have been using paper and pencil for your budget, maybe it is time to try an app. You might even look at using an online spreadsheet. You could move back to the paper and pencil method from something more high tech.
Whatever you feel you can do to help get your mindset back onto the excitement about setting a budget (that you can actually follow), do it! There is never a one size fits all method of setting up your budget!
Read more: How to Create a Budget
4. Save on your groceries
How often do you go to the store and stock up, just to have food go bad and you throw it away? Probably more times than you care to admit.
Take the time to plan your menu and then, also plan out your shopping trip. Having a plan keeps you on track and ensures you are only buying what you need (and will actually eat).
For some of you, this might mean using more coupons. For others, it could be as simple as changing where you shop. I get most of our food from our local Aldi, where the savings are HUGE. This simple change allowed us to reduce our grocery budget by nearly 50%!! There are a lot of ways you can cut your grocery bill; you need to know where to start.
Read More: How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
5. Downsize your stuff
If you look around your house, you probably see many things you no longer need or use. Why not sell or donate them?
Having a garage sale is not difficult. It just takes planning. I have had several successful garage sales. You can find my tips on how to have a successful garage sale helpful if you are new to trying this yourself.
If hosting a sale is not for you, you could donate the items you no longer need. Make sure you keep accurate track of everything you give away so that you can save the details for your taxes! It’s the perfect way to get rid of the clutter while saving a bit on what you have to pay to Uncle Sam.
6. Don’t be so hard on yourself
The key to making a change is knowing that you need to do just that. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just get your focus back where it needs to be – your budget. Learn from your mistakes and move forward.
By learning from the mistakes you’ve made and them making changes for moving forward, you can absolutely get your budget back on track again.
7. Stick with cash
The simplest way to restrict your spending is to use cash. There is no way to argue that fact. When you have cash, it is impossible to overspend. However, using plastic, you still can.
If something costs $22 and all you have is one twenty dollar bill, you can’t buy it. But, if you have a credit or debit card, you can. You’ve instantly spent $2 more than you should have.
Read more: How to Use the Cash Envelope System