For beginners, getting a budget right takes time. You may overlook certain expenses or underestimate how much you will spend on something. Over time, however, these rookie mistakes get easier to spot.
But there are certain budgeting mistakes that even experts are guilty of making. We catalog 5 such critical budgeting pitfalls that keep you from achieving your financial goals and tips on how to work through them.
Neglecting the Bigger Picture to Make Small Savings a Priority
Or as the popular saying goes, ‘being penny wise and pound foolish’. Although it is a smart decision to cut corners on smaller expenses each month, it makes no sense if you spend on extravagant impulse buys.
It is essential to not lose focus of the bigger picture when following a budget. Maintain a financially responsible approach by keeping discretionary expenditure under control and especially, avoid falling victim to budget busters.
Overlooking Larger Non-Monthly Expenses
When devising a monthly budget, it is not uncommon to forget accounting for quarterly, half-yearly or annual expenses. Being an irregular expense, your car, health and home insurance premiums, vehicle registration fee, dental check-ups and so on often go unbudgeted. These can cause a major setback to your budget when it is time to pay for them.
You can plan for such expenses by incorporating them into your monthly budget. This way, a big expenditure can be split into its smaller equivalents which also makes it easier to manage.
Not Budgeting as a Couple
Combined finances work differently than an individual budget. For a married couple, it is important to work together on finances and set up one household budget.
Together, you should work out your current finances, saving strategies, contributions to the budget, outstanding debts, as well as financial objectives. Talking matters through is especially important if both partners have different spending and saving ideologies. Moreover, constant review of your budget is essential to make room for inflations, new financial goals, additions to your family and so on.
Not Protecting Yourself Against Unforeseen Expenses
Unexpected expenses crop up from time to time. Not preparing yourself against the possibility of an emergency is one of the biggest budgeting blunders you can make.
The unexpected can completely throw your budget off and force you into debt. We suggest that you build unforeseen expenses into your monthly budget or put aside a recommended three to six months’ worth of living expenses for emergencies. The emergency fund will act as your savior in case of an eventuality such as job loss, medical treatment or car breakdown.
Discounting Revisions and Readjustments
Reviewing your budget periodically is as essential as building one. Changing financial circumstances demand a reformed budgeting strategy. Make your budget an ongoing piece of work that changes as your finances change.
Be perceptive in a changed financial situation. In case of salary increment, for instance, aim to re-adjust your budget in a way that builds up your savings and makes more room for debt settlement instead of unreasonably increasing your expenditure.