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Do you consider yourself a budget king or queen? Are you dead on with your budgeting every month and never go over budget? Or are you like most families who struggle to stay on budget and stay within the amounts you set for yourself? If so, there is a very simple cause and luckily for us all? It’s incredibly easy to fix. The one mistake you’re making in your budget (you do have a budget correct?) is easy to overlook. It’s easy to find yourself doing and it’s even easier to get completely off track financially because of it.
With budgets, it can be incredibly easy to get off track. You’re floating along and before you know it, your budget has failed and your finances are in serious trouble. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. We have found ourselves in that situation more than once and I’m sure we could all agree that it isn’t fun when it happens. You spend the next few weeks or months playing catch up and by the time you get there? Sometimes you’re off track again. It might only be by a little, but it’s very possible that you’re now off track by a lot. Either way? You’re likely very, very confused.
The #1 Mistake You’re Making in Your Budget
Let me ask you a question. When you do your budget each month, do you do it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? If you answered anything other than weekly, I have a second question for you.
How often do you update it?
If you’re updating your budget less often than once a week? THAT is the mistake you’re making.
It’s very easy to do your budget once and not look at it again for the rest of the month. It’s very easy to forget to track your expenses. It’s very easy to just walk away and not pay any attention to it until the next time that you’re ready to budget again. Unfortunately, all of those things make it very easy to lose track of things.
Personally? I’ve found that our budget works best, that it flows best, that it stays where it should be when I budget both weekly and monthly. Why? Because spending changes throughout the month. What you’re spending today may not be what you spend tomorrow. What you spent last week may not be what gets spent this week. Your income this week may be different than your income last week.
If you don’t account for those changes in your budget? Your budget will almost certainly fail…especially if you are currently living paycheck to paycheck.
Making the mistake of not updating your budget can be, simply put, one of the most financially devastating mistakes you will ever make. Case in point? My own personal income this week:
This week, I had already budgeted to receive $2,035 in pre-business expense income from various sources. While that money was budgeted and set to leave us with a few hundred dollars of actual personal income, I also received an additional and very unexpected $1500 in personal income.
Now don’t get me wrong. I like money. I run a blog that is at least in part, financially based. It should be quite obvious that I like money. What I don’t like though is $1500 going *poof* and having no clue where it went. If I had not taken the time to update my budget, that is exactly what would have happened. I would have had $1500 that went *poof* and disappeared in a cloud of rash spending and who knows what. How do I know?
It has happened before.
Luckily, the last time it happened, I learned my lesson and that I need to budget both weekly and monthly to keep things straight. That means that instead of simply letting that money go into my accounts and fly away willy nilly, I completely re-did my budget to account for it. Yes, it took me about an hour to re-do my budget. Yes, it could have been viewed as a hassle. Yes, it took time away from work things that I could have gotten done. It was totally worth it. Now? I know that I have an extra $1500 in my checking account which means that I can save that last paycheck of the month. It means my bills for this month get paid earlier. It means I could have used it to build up a credit on my bills. It means that with my budget redone, I’m in full control of every cent of my money. It means that I am fully controlling my finances instead of the other way around.
If you’re not updating your budget, you will miss things like extra income or an unexpected bill that you may have forgotten about. I don’t care if it’s “only” $20.00. That $20.00 is more than enough to set off a chain of confusion and harm. Don’t be one of the families that will make the mistake of doing their budget and walking away from it this year. You, your family and your financial future deserve better. By making sure that you update weekly (or at least more often than you might currently be?), you’ll put yourself in a position to rarely miss anything and that, my dear friends, is a fantastic position to be in.