You’ve been struggling for months after getting all your paper work together. You’ve downloaded the budgeting apps, been tracking your expenses, even printed out the budgeting spreadsheet we prepared for you. But you just can’t get into it and it doesn’t interest you one bit. You’re not the only one.
Just like every school essay you didn’t want to write or english book you couldn’t be bothered finishing, the budget can be tedious and boring. It’s not that you can’t do it. You may have worked it all out and the first two weeks thought: “yep, I can do this no problems.” But the third week came and went and you had too much to do. Now you have to catch up and that just sucks. You lost a couple of receipts and that’ll throw things out… Anyway… Lets roll with it. What can we do about it now? Time for a cold hard reality check and fix those budgeting mistakes.
Mistake 1. Thinking you’ll want to do this one day and enjoy it.
Sorry! Most people don’t like doing their budget or tracking their money. Lets face it. Do you enjoy cleaning the house or vacuuming out the car? (If you do there is a job waiting for you at my place) It’s a chore, but a necessary one. It’s something you have to do and get use to doing it if you want to clear away your debts and start living financially free.
Tip: Reward yourself with something you love after doing your budget. One thing that you can only have if you complete your sit down session every week. (It might be a cheeky piece of chocolate cake if you’re on a diet)
Mistake 2. You’ve chosen the wrong app or the spreadsheet drives you mad.
Hey! Change it! There is nothing worse than sitting at something you are bored with (the budget) than having to fuss with an app you don’t understand or is not fitting your needs. Or the spreadsheet colours don’t suit you or the columns are too restrictive. Maybe the screen resolution isn’t right and you need to make the writing bigger. Figure out whats bothering you and change it.
Tip: Find something that works for you. But don’t use looking as a reason to procrastinate.
Mistake 3. You didn’t set a goal!
Hello! What are we aiming for here? What is the point of sitting down to drudgery if you have no motivational reason to do it? Yes, you may have a basic goal “to get out of debt” or “live the life you deserve” or “upgrade the car.” But they are not smart goals and they are not giving you the reason you need to get butt on seat.
Tip: Read our goal setting blog about staying on track.
Mistake 4. You have obstacles
Stop blocking yourself from financial freedom. You may think you don’t have the time to do your budget entries each week. Ask yourself if you are making excuses to not sit down and do the work? No one wants to do it. NO ONE! But if you want control over you financial life then you need to stop creating obstacles as excuses. The dog might need a bath but would you be bathing it if you weren’t just procrastinating?
Tip: Make a time and stick to it. Give yourself ample time and unless the house is on fire, don’t let anything stop you from getting the work done.
Mistake 5. You have conflicting agendas
You have discussed with your spouse what your goals are and they are not in agreement and perhaps their goals are significantly different. WHOA! What to do? Good question.
Tip: Look for a good financial/couples counsellor to help you figure out how to work together so that both parties get a good outcome.
Mistake 6. Your expectations far exceed your reality
At this point anyway. Are you $50k in debt on a $45k income and wishing to be out of debt in the next 2 years? That’s not realistic idea to have unless you are prepared to work another job or take on over time. Expenses are a fact of being alive and if you are not realistic in what you can achieve within the confines of what your incomings and outgoings are you will find yourself disheartened.
Tip: Do your budget and get a reality check. Who knows, it might empower you to up the anti.
Mistake 7. You haven’t planned for emergencies
Having a separate savings account for those unexpected surprises, like a broken down car can save you from blowing your budget or reaching out for the credit card.
Tip: Read our Saving for Emergencies blog
Mistake 8. You have no willpower
So you just spend and ignore your budget hoping to get away with over spending. How’s that working out for you?
Tip: Try the envelope system for your expenses and freeze your credit card in a block of ice so you can’t use it easily.
Mistake 9. You haven’t put aside time
Or maybe you haven’t put aside enough time. Your budget is going to take the time it takes. If you have significant entries that may take an hour or you haven’t gotten used to budgeting yet and it takes you a bit longer, then don’t set aside half an hour when it will take you a full hour.
Tip: Find a quiet time and space so you can work through it quicker each time.
BIG Mistake 10. You haven’t made adjustments
Your initial budget is a starting point. It’s what you think you are spending your money or even where you would like your money be spent but after tracking your outgoings you’ll have the realistic idea of where your money is going. This is where you adjust your budget for subsequent months then make gradual changes to you outgoings that reflect where can plug the leaks.
Tip: Use an app that photographs receipts so you can track and adjust with accuracy.
Remember, even a small leak can sink a big ship.
If you’re facing financial hardship we are here to talk about a solution. Call us on 1300 887 211 or Book a Free No Obligation Phone Consultation with our friendly team and we can discuss debt management options specially focused on your personal situation.