I think at some point we have ALL reached a point when there is more month than money.
We may have entered the month with the best of intentions, but we just didn't stick to our budget. That could be for a number of reasons.
But for a lot of people it comes down to three things, emergencies, lifestyle and guilt. Of course there are endless things that can wreck a budget if you let them, but it seems that these things that cause our money to fly out the window the fastest.
1. Emergencies. It is imperative to save money for a rainy day. Having $1,000 or $2,000 socked away can really soften the blow of life's little disasters.
But what really is an emergency??
Well that depends on you and your family. But this is how I look at it. When budgeting you have to focus on having food to feed your family, a place to live, a way to keep that place to live warm and lit, and a way to get to work to pay for it all.
If something happens to cause those things peril, that's an emergency. If your car breaks down and you have to get it fixed so you can get to work, that's an emergency.
If your kid or your spouse, or yourself gets sick and you need to take time off work or buy medication or cover a doctor's visit, that's an emergency.
However, I think it is so easy to get in the mindset that things are emergencies when they are not.
Our family recently got a new dryer. We had nursed the old dryer for years to keep it running and often just hung up our clothes. Even when we didn't have a clothes line I would hang clothes on any surface I could find.
For us, getting a new dryer was not an emergency.
2. Lifestyle. I recently spoke to a reader who was expressing her desire to be a stay at home mom. She admitted to me that it wasn't going to workout for her family because of their expenses.
They had fallen into a lifestyle trap. When her first child was born they bought a brand-new minivan because that is what the people in her circle did.
So she traded in her paid for car for a minivan with a hefty monthly payment.
They also live in a really expensive neighborhood with a pricey HOA.
She admitted that she and her husband's desire to keep up with the Joneses had put her in a position where she could not afford to be a stay at home mom. The word she used to describe that feeling was trapped.
She felt trapped in a lifestyle.
I felt her pain. I have been there, done that.
In order to break that cycle you have to begin to tell yourself no, and that is HARD. But you cannot sacrifice what you want in the future for what you want right now.
3. Guilt. This is something that I have talked about at length- I feel like, as a mom, guilt can sabotage your budget.
As parents we all want to make our kids happy. We want them to live in a perfect world and be perfect parents and sometimes, to make up for our shortcomings we use stuff. I am guilty of it.
But gifts don't equal love. The last thing our children need is more stuff!
Don't let guilt sidetrack your budget. Don't let guilt drive you to buy stuff for your kids.
We show our children we love them not by the quantity of stuff we buy them, but by the quality of time we spend with them.
We have to break these mind frames in order to get off the budget crazy cycle.
What about you? What have you found sabotages your budget? Join the conversation.