It’s not an indication of your worth to not stick to your budget. Overspending is a messenger, nothing more. A messenger of a need to address. Resist all or nothing thinking. You’re not terrible at budgeting. There are many categories you likely stay in budget. Do you stick to your rent, phone, cable, gas, etc. budgets? Why can you stick to those categories? Is it because the consequences of not sticking to them are high or maybe you automated a bill and you’re in the habit of acting like you don’t have that money because you don’t want an overdraft fee? Keep these things in mind as you work on trouble shooting areas of your budget that are harder to stick to.
Below are four things to do once you realize you went over your budget.
If you have savings, bring your budget back to where it needs to be with your savings. No sense trying to carry your negative budget into the next pay period thinking you can catch up later when you struggled to even stay within your budget prior. Cut your losses and try again.
Evaluate what you spent on. Where they actual needs that didn’t get budgeted for? Was it eating out because you didn’t have time in your busy schedule to prep some meals? Find the root of the spending and see if you can find a solution.
Revamp your budget. It was probably too restrictive. Be realistic. If you don’t have time to make all your meals from scratch or pack a lunch for work, increase your eating out budget. Let that shame go and eat some food, whether it’s take-out or not.
Track your net worth each month. This will incentivize you to stick to your budget because you’ll want to see your net worth increase. Then when you’re about to go over your budget, you might start thinking, “Is this item worth me delaying my net worth goals?” Keep in mind, the earlier you can increase your wealth the better due to compound interest having more time to do its thing.
I hope these four steps help you bounce back from going over budget. Keep trying to find solutions and don’t internalize any mistakes; you’re doing the best you can. And you WILL reach your goals if you keep trying.
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