At budget is simply income minus outgo. It seems easy on paper. But in practice, it ends up being far more complicated. We’re not dealing with distant and detached corporate numbers. Our budget reflects the things that come from our hearts and minds. That’s why it seems so easy to blow the budget, especially when starting out.
There is an emotional aspect of personal finance that goes far beyond the numbers. This needs to be considered and taken into account when one has blown the budget. It doesn’t mean you’re dumb or incompetent. But it does warrant some self-reflection.
Math Doesn’t Make You Blow the Budget
It’s not so much a math problem as it is a behavior problem. That’s the bad news, but it’s also the good news.
Just about everyone can make a budget. But the difficulty is in developing the self-discipline to see it through. I have noticed no correlation between income level and the ability to stick to a budget. It’s something far deeper than one’s career track and earning capacity.
I have seen many people blow the budget when they first start to do it. The start of any endeavor is almost always the most difficult part.
When there has not been any planning previously, it can be hard to make projections for what you will need in a given month. Especially if you have a few kids in the mix, things can feel overwhelming pretty quickly.
Where Does the Money Go?
Food tends to be one of the biggest areas where people don’t accurately project and blow the budget. The average household spends far more on groceries and eating out than they may realize. So when things don’t work out, it can be very disappointing.
Other common areas of overspending include subscriptions, hobbies, and rationalized impulse purchases. Each of these things can seriously drag you down and keep you from becoming debt-free and building wealth.
“A penny for a spool of thread, another for a needle. That’s the way the money goes…”
Getting Back on Track After Blowing the Budget
When I have clients who experience this, I walk them through the reasons they are trying to do things differently.
“Why did you decide to be more intentional with your money?”
A question like this will prompt the person to think about the long-term goals and dreams they have. They will say what things they want to do over the next few years and in the longer term.
“Can you accomplish those things if you give up being intentional now?”
The answer is, of course, no. By doing this, we revitalize the purpose so that there will be the motivation to try again. This is an example of Stephen Covey’s principle of beginning with the end in mind (discussed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
So when this happens, dream about what you want, and imagine if you can accomplish it if you give up now. The answer should be obvious. Just because you blow the budget a few times doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
Ultimately, we don’t get to choose whether or not we make a sacrifice. We only get to choose what sacrifice we make. And if you won’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want is what you will sacrifice.
Be patient, perseverant, and keep that long-term goal in mind. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
If you find yourself caught in a cycle of blowing the budget over and over, let me help you. Schedule a Discovery Session with me today to break free from the disappointment and to finally find that financial freedom.