If you are still working out the kinks in your budget, these tips may help…
1) Give yourself some time. After creating your initial list of income and expenses, monitor your spending for at least a few more weeks to catch the things you forgot. Little things really do add up and if they are not taken into account, your budget may not hold up under the pressure.
2) Prioritize your list. Once you do have a complete list of expenses, put them in your own order of importance. You may find that you were not spending in line with your values. If you have a goal of early retirement, or paying for your kids college, it should be reflected in your spending. Are you planning for your goals, or spending it on other stuff…like lattes?
3) Don’t beat yourself up. If you get too hard on yourself for past mistakes, you will fail at creating a new working system. Accept that mistakes happen and try to work up some excitement for creating a new financial future for yourself.
4) Give yourself some fun money. We all need a little money for the stuff we just want to buy. My husband and I allocate allowance for each of us, and we get it in cash at the beginning of every month. We can spend our money on whatever we want, and can’t comment on how the other spends their allowance. If you don’t have any spending money, you will feel deprived. Completely depriving ourselves can lead to huge splurges in the future that may derail a budget altogether. Do not set yourself up to fail.
5) Remember the “Miscellaneous”. Every budget needs a small amount dedicated to stuff that happens. Tires pop. Kids get sick. Dogs hurt themselves. Stuff just happens. If you don’t have money in your budget set aside for the “darn its”, you’ll find another category taking the hit.
6) Automate as much as possible. I love automating my savings so I don’t even see the money before we squirrel it away. It’s much harder to spend something you never really felt like you had. Why do you think the government takes their cut out before you even see your paycheck? If you automatically fund a Roth IRA or whatever, you’ll be truly surprised how much you can save up with just a little time.
Hope these tips help keep you on track. Good luck!
*Some of these tips are from www.budgetingthefunstuff.com.