How to Recover from a Blown Budget
| Photographs By Igor Vershinsky
Have you ever had a week (or maybe two) when your spending got out of hand? My last two weeks have been like that.
I had major family obligations to deal with, I started helping more at my dad’s business, and I took on another small freelance job — all within the same week. Life got crazy.
Needless to say, I let “overwhelm” take over, and my money pretty much flew out the window.
When it comes to budgeting, falling off track is a common problem. Here’s how I’ve recovered from my overspend, and how you can do the same:
1. Stop dwelling
I ate out almost every night for the past two weeks. The house remained a wreck, and I stacked my unopened bills on the corner of the kitchen table.
Going over budget hurts, but it’s not the end of the world. Life happens; you can’t be perfect all the time.
Acknowledge that you messed up, then move on. Obsessing about it isn’t going to bring your money back.
2. Get back into your old routine
After recovering from a couple of weeks of burnout, I started getting my financials back in order by returning to my old routines. I also played a little bit of catch-up: paid my bills, balanced my checkbook, and took care of some transfers.
Sometimes when you fall off track, it makes you want to stay off track. It takes more effort to jump back on the bandwagon than it does to remain on the same path. That’s why it’s important to get back into your old routine as soon as you have the chance.
Get everything caught up, map out a plan for the remainder of the month, and immediately return to your former routine.
3. Temporarily cut expenses
These past few weeks, I’ve earned a little extra money. My overspending, therefore, didn’t get in the way of paying my bills — it just prevented me from saving the extra money the way I’d planned.
I still desperately wanted to add a little extra to my savings this month, so I decided to cut back temporarily on my expenses.
If you need to cut back, consider the following tactics:
- Eat at home until you’ve cleaned your shelves out.
- Have “no-spend” days, when you don’t spend a single penny.
- Skip paid entertainment and opt for board-game nights or free concerts.
If you’re still facing a budget discrepancy, you may have to look for extra ways to earn money for the month. Consider selling something or picking up extra hours at work.
The point is: if you’ve blown your budget, don’t beat yourself up too badly. We all make mistakes. The important thing is to pick up where you left off and get back to your budget as soon as possible.
The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.
Licensed content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent any endorsement, expressed or implied, by USAA or any affiliates.