Banishing Budget Obstacles

October 3, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

If you shudder when you hear the word budget, you’re not alone. Creating — and sticking to —a budget is a daunting task, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks by a mile. Here’s how to overcome the obstacles that may be in your way.

Budgets can seem difficult to figure out and stick to, and that may scare people away from creating one. But don’t let not knowing stop you from starting.

Think of budgeting as goal setting. Simply write down your financial goals for the next week, month and year. Research shows that when you write down your goals, your odds of achieving them increases. Don’t get caught up in the idea that your budget needs to be concrete, seamless and extremely detailed either. Start small and the rest should follow.

Obstacle #2: Impulse Purchases

Most people have a hard time telling themselves “no,” and this often leads to unnecessary purchases that we regret later on. But remembering your long-term goals will help you steer clear of these impulse purchases.

Think of what you want your financial situation to look like down the road. Think of that big purchase you will be able to make after saving up for a few months. Reminding yourself of your long-term goals will help you stay on track to reaching them.

Obstacle #3: Unplanned Expenditures

Disaster strikes when you least expect it, and financial disasters come in several forms. Coming down with an illness or having to pay for repairs to your property after a storm are just two of the random occurrences that may threaten to ruin your budget.

While these unplanned expenditures can throw your budget off balance, it’s important to foster budget resilience so you can bounce back. One way to make sure you’re prepared for anything life throws at you is to maintain an emergency fund.

Obstacle #4: Establishing New Habits

Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form, but through repetition and reassurance, you can establish better financial habits for yourself.

It won’t be easy. You will need concentration, practice and dedication to really ingrain new spending habits into your everyday life. Just be realistic, set achievable spending goals and stick to them.

Obstacle #5: Maintaining Positivity

Arguably the toughest thing to do with regard to budgeting is to maintain a positive attitude through the entire process.

We may look down on ourselves for past impulse purchases. We may even scold ourselves for racking up high debt over the years. But whether you’re just starting to implement a budget, or you’ve been trying to stick to one for a while, give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Doing so will make budgeting an easier pill to swallow.