Does your spending ever go off course? You aren’t the only one. Although it isn’t ideal to go over budget, every family does it every once in a while.
Maybe there’s a big sale on diapers that cost more upfront but promises big long-term savings, so you sink a little more money than usual on this household essential. Or perhaps you have to call a late-night plumber to deal with an emergency leak and get stuck with a shocking invoice.
Overspending only becomes a problem when the months you overspend start to outnumber the months you follow your budget. Chronic overspending can stretch your paycheck thin and leave you unprepared for emergencies or future goals.
So how do you fix an underperforming budget and get your spending back on course? Check out these no-nonsense tips to help you save more.
Plan for Emergencies
Nobody plans to take their kid to the walk-in clinic or emergency dentist, but things happen. Your son might chip his tooth on a jawbreaker, or your daughter may hurt herself climbing a tree.
Unexpected medical expenses are one of the worst culprits for going over your budget, even if you have insurance. Between deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs, they can wrack up a big bill.
You should set aside some money each month for these unpredictable expenses. If you’re short of what you need, you can apply for a cash advance to help you out. You can find a short term small dollar loan that works in a pinch if you get approved. But it’s helpful to know that cash advances come in different shapes and sizes.
Calculate Irregular Purchases
Irregular expenses are your budget’s worst enemy. It’s easy to forget about these expenses until they crash-land in your budget. You might not have the wiggle room to pay for them on such short notice.
That’s why you should sit down and make a list of all those expenses that come once or twice a year. Here are some to help you brainstorm:
- Dental check-ups
- Vehicle tune-ups
- Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays
- Income and/or property tax
- Union dues
Try out Different Budgets
Yep, you read that right. There are different kinds of budgets! While the financial world talks in a single “budget,” they use it to describe any deliberate spending plan.
Perhaps the most common budgeting method is the percentage budget. It splits your spending into three major categories and assigns them a percentage of your income. According to this method, you should spend 50% of your money on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings.
While this breakdown might make sense to you, it might not! There are tons of other budgeting methods out there for you to explore. Here are two of them:
- The Envelope System: This method splits your month’s income into envelopes for each major spending category, like rent and groceries. Once these envelopes are empty, you can’t spend any more in that category until the next month. Although typically a cash-based system, there’s a way to do it digitally, too.
- Zero-Based Budget: Also known as the zero-sum budget, this method means you give a job to every last penny you earn. By assigning tasks, you’ll be encouraged to use your money responsibly. It also prevents cash from sitting in your accounts, begging to be spent on splurges.
If you’ve been spending more money than you should, these tips help you budget with intention. Try them out to give yourself a better chance at following your plan!