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Budget Adjustments to stop overspending
Making budget adjustments is a requirement to maintain an effective budget that works.
And knowing when to make proper budget adjustments is key to long-lasting success with your money.
Because there will always be times when circumstances in your life change, so your budget needs to be flexible enough to withstand those changes.
A couple of years ago, I sprained my ankle. Not the type of sprain where you just twist your ankle , it gets swollen, and in a couple of days you’re walking again. No, it was a grade 2 sprain, meaning I tore 2 ligaments. Fun times.
I’d like to say that I sprained my ankle doing something fun.
Because of my sprained ankle, my budget took a major hit. I wasn’t able to stick to it for 3 weeks.
Our grocery budget was being used for takeout. And since takeout is so darn expensive, the amount that should have lasted a full month only lasted about a week or two, tops.
We were eating out for every single meal for 3 weeks. No kidding, my husband was so busy taking care of me and the girls.
He was also driving me to and from work each day. And, given that he only knows how to make 3 or 4 breakfast items, eating out seemed easier than eating scrambled eggs everyday.
But, our wallet was screaming in pain.
I mean, this frugal mom (yours truly!) would complain when we ate out twice a week and now we were eating out 10 times more than that.
It felt like we were hemorrhaging money with no end in sight. It was really stressful because I knew that in the short run, we were fine, but in the long run, we were essentially robbing ourselves blind.
We’d been down this road before. It was only a few months before that we ran into another snag with our budget.
I knew the only way to fix this was to make budget adjustments fast in order to avoid major issues down the road.
Our budget was not working, the house was a mess, and I felt frazzled.
Making Budget Adjustments
Step 1- Check the damage
The first thing I did was check my card balance. It’s like when you binged on food and immediately check the scale the next morning.
Of course, in the case of weight, the scale the next day is very inaccurate. But the bank statement never lies. It tracks every ill-spent penny and haunts you with every line item.
It was hard to escape the truth, but I expected it to be worse, believe it or not.
Knowing where I stood, helped me understand how to move past it and make better choices immediately.
It’s important when you fall off the wagon that you come to grips with how you’re doing using real figures. Compare how much you spent to how much you normally would spend during that period.
Step 2- Start Planning with a budget
The second thing I did was start planning and creating a new budget.
We had to plan out our week and make budget adjustments that made sense for the season of life we were in.
So, I created an easy meal plan, wrote out a shopping list, and checked in with our budget.
We adjusted the budget to get some easy meal helpers. These tend to be more expensive, but it would be better than the price of takeout.
Step 3- Mitigate the damages
If you’re falling behind with your finances, you have to make budget adjustments that get you through your current situation.
This way, you can effectively control how much money you’re spending and start getting back on track.
The way we decided to adjust our budget was to increase our food budget a little. Having a little more wiggle room in our food budget meant that we could get ready-made meals and helpers that would make it easier to eat in.
It’s not our ideal, but it would still save us money by not eating out.
Since this was a temporary budget adjustment, we could slowly get back on track without having a drastic change to our budget amounts.
Remember, gradual adjustments will work better than extreme changes. It’s all about taking steps in the right direction and moving forward.
Step 4- Give yourself Grace
Life happens and it affects our money. At the most inopportune time, emergencies occur.
The most important thing to remember is that we need get back up and keep going. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been messing up or how much more you’re in the hole.
Get back up and try again. Make adjustments to your budget, create a plan to stick to it, and do your best.
You’ll be thankful you did.
Messing up doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for budgeting. It doesn’t mean you are not capable of saving and investing and getting the life you dream of.
It just means that you are still in the trial and error stage of budgeting and that’s okay. Everyone has a time in their life when things aren’t perfect. Because we are all human.
If you need more budgeting guidance, you can grab the FREE guide here.
Budgets are meant to be adjusted as needed. It should be a live document that changes with time and circumstances. So, don’t worry if your budget isn’t perfect, it only matters that it helps you better control your money.
You have what it takes to be a better budgeter. Just take the first step.