Making a budget is a breeze. Sticking to it, now that’s a different story. If you’ve never felt the need to budget until now, you’re definitely going to discover some weak spots as you get started. Here are a few ways you might screw up when you’re trying to stick to a budget…
You’re not ready for anything: You may think that an emergency fund is independent from your budget. If you’ve built up a solid one, you may be kinda right. But if you’re not prepared for the unexpected bill, you’ll have to dip to into other accounts and that’ll probably have a a huge effect on your budget. Be ready when the time comes.
Stop guessing: The easiest bills to budget for are the ones that stay pretty much the same every month. My water bill isn’t exactly the same each month, but it’s usually within a couple of bucks. A power bill on the other hand? If there’s a science to keeping those consistent, I haven’t learned it. If you’re going to estimate prices when you start laying out a budget, make sure you err on the high side.
It’s not complete: It’s simple to remember the big bills, but it’s the small ones that can hurt you. Something like a Saturday breakfast with your friends can be easy to forget and can really add up when you’re doing it on a regular basis. Spend some time really thinking about all the money you spend and if you’re still worried that you’re forgetting something, add in a cushion so you won’t put yourself in a hole.
Annual fees: One bill I always forget about is Amazon Prime. I get charged in January every year and it’s always an “oh yeah” moment. If you think about it for a few minutes, I bet you’ll think of something similar.