If your budget isn’t working it’s because you don’t really have one.
You don’t have a written budget
You can’t control what you don’t measure. Moreover, how will you know if you are winning if you are not willing to keep score? You and your significant other must sit down and put all the income on one sheet of paper and all the bills on another sheet of paper.
Take at least 10% off the top of the income to save for a rainy day. You must live on the rest. If you can’t live on the rest, you must eliminate some bills. That boat for instance. Sell it.
You think your budget is a series of suggestions
If you want to reap the rewards of having a budget, you have to stick to it. New shoes, sports cars and a trip to Aruba are not emergencies. The budget and whether or not you are following it is an objective standard that answers the questions: Can I be honest with myself when no one is looking? Can I sacrifice to get the things I really want and need? If you continue to fail at these matters it is time to consider getting professional help.
Self discipline is one of the most wonderful things known to man. If you fail to discipline yourself, others with “help” you with your problem – sooner or later. The lawyers, bill collectors, repo-men, foreclosure specialists and even policemen will, through external discipline, make up for your lack of internal discipline. Even wealthy movie stars find that out.
You and your significant other did not work on the budget together
One of you is trying to force the other to “Grow up.” Good luck with your upcoming divorce!
Whenever two or more people are gathered together, there you will find a budget. Spending control and spending priorities are things that couples should talk about before they are wed. If one of you is out of control then both of you need to seek counseling.
Make a detailed budget. Put even the smallest things on it like chewing gum, newspapers and coffee. You will be surprised at how much you are spending on incidentals if you have never budgeted yourself before.
You lack impulse control
Those shoes are not calling your name. Neither is that video game player. Your budget talks to you all the time if you’d care to listen.
If you know you have impulse control issues, avoid the stores that make you crazy. Heck, you may even have to avoid the friends who make your crazy if they won’t help you keep your budget.
THere’s a reminder: a budget is rather like a diet or a religious commitment. You need the kind of friends who help you keep your promises. The world is full of fools who will try to ruin you. You do not need more of them.
You fail to take precautions concerning your impulse issues
Avoid temptation. If you have to, have your friend come over and go through the junk mail and toss the circulars about what’s on sale before you see them. Show some backbone. If you don’t have any, find a friend who does and consider getting some counseling. If expensive dinners are your Achilles heel, take cooking classes and become a gourmet cook.
You think you can save money by buying things you don’t need on sale
You can never save money by buying things you don’t really need on sale. The only way to save money is not to spend it.
You have expensive habits
A wise man once said that a boat is a hole in the water that you try to fill with money. You can’t afford a boat, or an airplane or any hobby that costs more than $50 per month.
You are not keeping track of every penny you spend
That Starbucks coffee has to come out of the budget. No exceptions
You have exempted something from the budget
Everyone is so proud of you for taking care of your sick parents. But the expense of doing so must come out of the budget. There are no pennies from heaven, even for the very, very good.
You are not making enough money
This is kind of a facetious one. The fact is for most people who have budgeting issues that they are spending too much. However, if you really want or need a lifestyle where you spend more, you need to make more. Get an extra job. If you still need more than that, you may want to see a counselor. You might have issues.
If you are digging yourself out of foreclosure issues and you have sick parents that you are caring for, then God bless you. Maybe you do need even more money. Then you need to start training for a better job. Consider night school. Also, look into management. Some managers make quite a bit of money.
Almost anything written or recorded by a radio talk show host named Dave Ramsey will help you budget you money. He has a traveling road show and a course in budgeting both of which you should definitely attend.
If budgeting seems like punishment, you are doing it wrong. Look at the people on TV who win the lottery and then go bankrupt in five years. If you are sticking with your budget you have every right to be proud of yourself for being smarter than that poor ex-millionaire.
Just like a diet, a budget can work a little better if you have a few indulgences. Be sure to put aside that $50 per month for splurging. If your idea of splurging is a little more expensive than that, then bank the $50 for four or more months and then treat the family to that expensive dinner or mini-vacation you have been dreaming of. Reward yourself for doing well but don’t break the budget – even for that.