We’ve all been there—a big holiday or birthday sneaks up on us, we spend a little more than we should, and suddenly our budget is off track. Oops! Instead of throwing in the towel and giving up on your carefully constructed budget, reroute and get your budget back on track right away.
Re-Do Your Budget Temporarily
Don’t throw out your budget. You’ll be able to follow it as soon as you get caught up on your bills and other expenses! However, you may want to re-do your budget to help you catch up. Figure out how much money you need to come up with and give yourself a realistic time frame.
Find Your Wiggle Room
Now it’s time to find your wiggle room! For many people, there’s wiggle room in the grocery budget, the gas budget, or the “fun money” budget. If your family can skip pot roast for a few weeks and get by on ground beef, trim your grocery budget down. Can you save a few trips across town or minimize your out-of-town travels? If so, spend a little bit on gas until you’re caught up. It’s important to have fun, but if you are trying to control a wayward budget, you may need to skip your girls’ night out for a few weeks until you are back on track.
Make a Plan for Next Time
If you don’t plan for the next time you get off track, it will happen again. One of the best ways to prepare for an unexpected expense is to have a strong emergency fund. See if you need to re-do your budget or start bringing in a little bit more money, and then set aside that money for the next time you have to buy gifts, repair your car, or help out a family member.
The best advice I have ever gotten is “if you make a mistake, don’t worry, you will probably have a chance very soon to do better”. This is great advice when you make money mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up, just start doing what you need to do again (and right away!)
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