Budget busting triggers are people, places, things or events (nouns or verbs) that make it challenging to stick with a budget in a particular area. To best understand your budget busting triggers, it helps to make completing a budget a regular part of your routine.
Please start here: Running a Fabulous Finance Committee Meeting.
Dealing with these triggers can be challenging. Challenging does not mean impossible.
You can create a budget, and you can navigate around the triggers that have caused problems in the past. It can be done. Let’s look at a few common triggers and how to work over, around, and through them.
Budgeting Seems Restrictive
To this I suggest, try it. The idea that a budget may seem restrictive – especially to those who don’t create one – can easily be refuted once you learn to operate using one.
It may seem counter intuitive, but budgeting effectively is actually extremely liberating and less stressful.
You’ll be able to operate from a place of wiser decision making. When you know how much you have to work with, on paper, you can make wiser decisions with your finances. Give yourself a few tries at creating and living from a budget to get comfortable with the idea.
Try budgeting in a few areas (start setting a spending limit for groceries for instance) and work your way up to full budget!
A budget also allows you to forecast potential accomplishments more accurately. Working with clear numbers lets you see the possibilities and helps you set realistic expectations about the need to supplement with additional income if needed to make measurable progress.
Does money burn a hole in your pocket?
If shiny, new objects make you weak in the knees – remove easy access to capital. Remove plastic cards from your wallet and carry an allotment of cash. Your daily allotment becomes clear when you complete a regular budget. Parting with cash is a different exercise than swiping plastic.
Stay out of stores window shopping and only cross the threshold when you have a legitimate need to replace something and have prepared a shopping list.
The food budget can be a tough area to manage. Most Americans claim that groceries and eating out is the top challenge in maintaining a regular household budget. This area can be tricky. We need to eat. However, we can avoid overspending by being proactive. A couple of suggestion include:
- Shopping with Coupons: How To Get Started With Coupons
- Switching to a less expensive grocery chain: Confessions of a Grocery Store Snob
- Meal planning: How to Menu Plan to Save Money
- Shopping with a list
- Making meals at home: Make All Meals @ Home this Month Challenge
What are you watching, reading, or listening to on regular basis?
Are you overwhelmed with marketing messages trying to convince you that the next new gadget, trinket or upgrade will make life better?
It might be impossible to inoculate ourselves completely from marketers, but mute the message’s efficacy by being monitoring the type of shows you watch. Cut down on the magazines that promote indulgent lifestyles.
Sales are designed to get you into stores or on the sites where you can spend money. Know this. Sales aren’t offered from an altruistic perspective to make your life better. Companies want you to spend money. Sales are fine on items you need and were going to purchase already. Practicing contentment is a great way to combat budget busting sales tactics. Ask yourself 1)Do you need this now? 2) If you don’t buy this, what will you do instead?
Again, being proactive in this area is golden. Looking for ways to enjoy life for free should be your first priority. Dumping debt and sticking to a budget can be a long term exercise. Keeping up you spirits up can help you feel encouraged about the journey and more likely to stay focused.
Emergencies pop up.
I’m convinced they wait until the exact moment you decided to get serious about fixing you finances.
I’m also convinced that this is a chance to prove just how committed you are to achieving your financial goals. Unfortunately, we do not get a pass on life’s challenges during the debt dump process.
Mute the financial sting associated with emergencies by creating a starter emergency fund. Depending on your household expenses, set aside an amount between $500-$1000. Look back at your previous emergencies and determine if having $1000 in the bank would have made a difference.
Don’t feel bad when you dip into your emergency fund for qualified emergencies. That’s why you have it.
Just replenish the fund after each emergency. Having the cash on hand can prevent the need for credit cards and thus thwart any tendency to surrender your momentum to discouragement when the unexpected drops in unannounced.
Saboteurs in Your Circle
Jim Rohn surmised that we are most like the 5 people we spend the most time with. Does this thought scare you?
If he’s even close to being on point, your immediate circle may have more influence on your spending habits than we care to acknowledge.
Good people may unintentionally pose an influence that poses a conflict to your financial goals. Audit your associations and make sure there is no (un)intentional saboteurs in your midst.
Change is hard, but a change in people you spend the most time with might be necessary to insulate yourself for undue financial influences if those around you can’t support and respect your desire to make better choices with money.
Transportation is a necessary expense. When the bills start racking up on car repairs, replacing the your car begins to become a strong pull. Before you make the plunge consider the following options.
1. Are you using the most cost effective repair solution? Ask around. Reliable, cost effective mechanics can be uncovered from a well placed referral.
2. Keeping your emergency fund topped off can help mitigate the frustration with repairs while you work to right your financial ship. The longer you can patch up your current vehicle, the more momentum you can build toward paying off debt.
3. If much purchase a replacement vehicle, look for quality low cost, pre-owned cars. You need reliable transportation, not a status symbol.
Debt Dump Overwhelm
Sometimes the enormity of the debt obstacle we face can be overwhelming and stop our progress before we start. If this is the problem, break the problem into chunks and focus on small parts. We used the debt snowball to pay back over $100,000 in consumer debt over 7 years. Had I thought about the amount as whole problem, I may have been discouraged to get started.
Focus instead on the first bill on your list, the goals you want to make in the next 3 months, or maybe funding your starter emergency fund. Developing quick wins can be mental boost to help spur you along to reaching your goal.
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