Budget Not Working?

budgetDo you find that sticking to your budget has fallen into the category of “lofty goal” (alongside learning Karate or driving a stick shift) rather than a matter of daily habit?

Here are some tried and true ways to turn your budget from theory to practice.

The Jar

Your mason jars are not just for jammin’. Label each jar with a different budget item, and fill them up accordingly.

The benefit to this, of course, is that you have both visual reference and accountability that comes when something is tangible. It helps too that these are clear and that you can really see your money accumulate (or not, which will help you quickly identify areas for improvement).

The Envelope

No jars on hand? Separating your savings and spending into a series of envelopes works too.

Envelopes are also good for organizing coupons as well. Place all the envelopes into a shoe box or filing cabinet that is easily accessible.

Details, details, details

If you are finding that your cash flow consistently never makes it to the end of the month, it is possible that you are not being detailed enough in your budgeting.

You may be listing “entertainment” as an expense, but really spending on eating out, outings (family and otherwise), babysitting, extra gas and parking to get to venues, etc. etc.

Once you account for every penny, literally, you will have a far better understanding of how to meet your monthly expenses- and where to tweak if necessary.

Be Accountable, but Be Reasonable

Maybe the reason that your budget is not working is that you are being too rigid in your spending expectations.

It’s all well and good to slash every little bit of spending in favour of reaching your goal, but that doesn’t play out well in real life.

Sticking to a budget is a long-term thing. You are going to want to have the option to reward yourself now and then- or else you’ll fall off the budget wagon altogether.