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Don’t let budget burnout derail your financial plans

Budgeting is certainly a lifestyle change and if your New Year’s resolution was to live by a budget, you could be experiencing burnout by now. Lifestyle changes are difficult, however there are ways to beat budget burnout and stay on track financially.
What is the leading reason that people abandon their budget?
Primarily is because they jumped in 110% and allowed their budget to rule every aspect of their life. They focus on extreme budgeting and that can be draining very quickly.  Spending hours each week is just not always plausible for everyone.
How do extreme budgeters keep from falling of the budget wagon?
First, rethink why you wanted to get on a budget.  Likely, it was to control your spending.  An alternative to extreme budgeting can be a spending plan that focuses only on discretionary spending.  This takes less time and can be easier especially when you have a fast paced life.
What are other methods for making budgeting easier to live everyday?
Focus on only one goal instead of many and give yourself more time to reach that goal. If you are trying to pay off $5,000 in debt, save $3,000 in an emergency fund and save $5,000 for education in 12 months, that probably isn’t realistic and you will soon stop any budgeting.  Take one goal at a time or make the time period longer, either option will help you stay focused on your budget.
Are there other reasons people can’t make budgets work for them?
Sometimes the reason is the system you have chosen to use as your budgeting method. Some people like to log and track every expense and others don’t want to track anything but still want control. There are so many different budging methods that you might have to find the one that fits your lifestyle. Any budgeting is better than none at all.
For those who don’t want to track anything what type of budget would you recommend?
For this group, an envelope type of system might be the best. You allocate your funds each paycheck into separate accounts or even actual envelopes by expense category.  There is no tracking as you only spend for that expense until the envelope is empty.
Is there a simple budgeting method for people to start a budgeting habit?
One very simple method is the 50 – 20 – 30 rule.  A max of 50% of your net income on essentials including food, housing, transportation, and utility expenses.  A minimum of 20% of your net income goes to savings which can include paying off credit card debt and student loans as well as retirement and emergency funds.  That leaves a maximum of 30%  for lifestyle expenses which include cable, cell phone, trips, gifts, dining out, entertainment…expenses some would call discretionary.
What is the most important advice for those struggling with budgeting burnout?
Being successful at budgeting requires that you manage your budget, don’t let your budget manage you. Build in fun money and make adjustments as needed to enjoy life, it is more about balancing your budget than strictly following each budget line item.

Posted: 2/23/2017 with 0 comments

Categories: Budgeting, Money, Money Matters, Planning, Spending

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