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Why Do Budgets Fail?

Oct 16, 2019 - Posted by: Rocky Mountain Credit Union
The biggest roadblock that keeps people from sticking to a budget is the frustration of watching it fail, again and again. But why do budgets fail? It boils down to a few simple factors. But don't worry—we're here to help you solve these common problems that lead to a failed budget.

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Poor Planning

Probably the number one reason budgets fail is because of poor planning. If you don't have a budget plan in place, or your margins aren't realistic, you're not likely to find much success. Did you remember that your car insurance premium is due twice a year? Or factor in emergency savings when you made your budget? Unexpected expenses are the quickest way to derail a budget if you don't plan for emergencies.

The Fix:

Set aside a set percentage each month in a separate account just for emergencies or pull out cash for specific needs to limit over-spending.

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It’s Too Complicated

If your budget involves noting every single expense you have in a month down to the cent and how each cost fits into 600 specifically defined categories—and then you find you're having trouble sticking to it—that probably means that your budget is too complicated.

The Fix:

Edit your budget down to a few simple spending categories—like bills, food, gas, and entertainment—and figure out a simplified version that works for you and makes it easier to stay committed.

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It Doesn’t Reflect Reality

Believe it or not, but an overly strict budget is the opposite of helpful. Rather than encouraging you to do all you can to save, it often makes you feel (even subconsciously) that if you're already failing, what's the point of trying? When your budget is too tight, it doesn't help you in the long run. Make sure you're living within your means and working toward your goals, but the answer can't always be to restrict every optional expense down to nothing.

The Fix:

Take a good, hard look at your actual spending in a month. What categories are you causing you to overspend? Where do you tend to splurge? But more importantly, how much of a splurge can your financial life handle? If you factor a few fun things into your budget, you're not going to blow it every time you're out having a good time.

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It Becomes a Chore

When you're dragging your feet at following through on your budget and every entry feels like a chore, it's a recipe for budget failure. If you can't stand doing your monthly or weekly budget, you're more likely to procrastinate on it so long that it fails.

The Fix:

Simplifying can help here, too, so it doesn't feel like you have a mountain to climb every time you sit down to do your budget, but another easy fix is to reward yourself with a little something (going to the movies, going out to dinner) after you finish doing your budget.

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It Doesn’t Meet Your Goals

You need to know what you're working toward in the first place if you want to have a budget that meets your goals. Do you want to purchase a new car, buy a new home, or take a trip to a far-off destination? What's your long-term financial plan? If you're not working toward something more significant, it's easy to let your budget fall by the wayside when impulsive buying seems appealing.

The Fix:

Set goals and stick to them. Write your goal on a sticky note and paste it around the house, or set a daily reminder on your phone: whatever it takes to make your goals happen.

For help giving your goals a jump start, RMCU can help. Click here to find out more about our personal banking options that can get you on track for a golden financial future

 

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