4 Reasons You Can’t Stick to a Budget

Man calculates budget on calculator along with piggy bank

Setting a budget | Source: iStock

Have you been having difficulty managing your finances? Does money seem to fly out of your bank account as soon as you get paid? If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget and staying in charge of your money, it may be time to take a look at how you’re handling your budget. Here are four reasons you may not be able to stay on top of your monthly budget.

1. Your budget is too strict

In an effort to save money and whip your finances into shape, you may not be giving yourself enough breathing room. Make sure to include space in your budget for needs as well as wants. If you don’t make room for the fun stuff, you’ll be tempted to overspend. So give yourself a break by setting aside some cash for hobbies or other purchases that bring a bit of joy to your life. Just don’t get carried away with your spending.

Jason, founder of personal finance website Frugal Dad, said an overly strict budget could negatively affect your life. “Budgets can set you up to succeed or set you up to fail. Make them too strict and you’ll never stay within a spending category’s limits. Have too many budget categories, and you’ll spend too much life energy hunting and recording receipts. Like everything in life, try to find some balance when setting up your budget, but err on the side of simplicity,” wrote the blogger on the Frugal Dad website.

2. You’re putting the needs of others before your own

Money exchanging han

Lending money |Source: iStock

It’s nice to help friends and family in need, but you should make sure you’re truly able to help before you step in. Take inventory of how much money you can comfortably part with before making any type of financial commitment. Your best bet is to not loan money if it will put you in a financial bind or if you will need the money soon. Handing out loans without putting some thought into it is a quick way to bust your budget.

Credit expert Gerri Detweiler warns lending money can be risky business. “In reality, most of us are fairly generous people, and we want to help a family member or friend with a loan when we can. The other reality is that a person who can’t borrow money from a traditional source (especially in today’s easy credit environment) often has damaged credit or no credit, both of which make such a borrower a greater credit risk,” Detweiler told Credit.com.

3. You have no accountability

friends drinking beer together

Friends | Source: iStock

It’s easy to get off track if you don’t have someone to share your financial goals with. Enlist the help of a money buddy to hold you accountable for staying on budget. You can root each other on and encourage each other to stay focused. This way, when you’re tempted to make a purchase you don’t need or you know you’re about to make a very poor financial decision, you have someone you can count on to get you through the rough patch.

4. You need more self-control

Man holding wallet

Wallet | iStock

The purpose of a budget is to keep you in line when it comes to spending your hard-earned cash. If you find yourself breaking out your wallet every time you hear about a sale, it’s time to rethink the way you approach your finances. If your spending habits are really out of control, consider joining a support group. Two groups to consider are Debtors Anonymous and Shopaholics Anonymous.

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