We've all been there. We budget, we clip coupons, we do all we can to save money, but after a while we feel like our efforts just aren't paying off.
Today I'm going to be sharing with you four ways to get your budget out of autopilot and make it actually fly right. We're going to talk about how to actually make your budget work for you.
1. Treat each month differently
One of the reasons your budget might not be working is because you're not treating each month like it is unique.
Every month is different. Some months you might have more paychecks, like you might have a third paycheck. Or if you're like us and you get paid weekly, you might have a fifth paycheck. So each month needs to be budgeted differently.
You might also have fees due. Or it's the month that you pay your auto insurance.
Treating each month like its own unique snowflake will also cut down on unexpected expenses. How many times has a bill come in the mail -- it's a recurring expense every single year -- but you didn't budget for it because you're treating every single month like a batch of cookies?
So sit down every month and budget for its uniqueness.
2. You forgot recurring expenses.
Here's the thing: Your kids need back-to-school clothes every August; Christmas is always on December 25th; and your property tax is usually due at the same time every year.
None of these are actually emergencies, but for some reason, we treat them like they are. We totally forget this is going to happen.
These things might require a sinking fund for you. Go ahead and start budgeting for things like your annual property tax, back-to-school shopping, Christmas, vacation -- whatever it is that you know is coming up. Don't wait until the last minute. Start a sinking fund and plan for it now.
Here's a little tip on back-to-school shopping: Everyone buys shoes in August, but athletic shoes are actually at their cheapest in January and April. Fun fact for you.
3. You're not performing regular audits.
This is something that Jason loves to do. I'm married to a nerd, and he likes to sit down every few months and look at where we could be spending less. Maybe it's on our auto insurance, our homeowners', by going with a different company, or asking for discounts because we're such loyal customers, maybe it's our cellphone provider, maybe it's the person that changes our oil.
Shop around and see if you can find better deals.
4. You're not having regular budget meetings
This is a concept that I first read about on my friend Jessi Fearon's blog. She says that everyday, she sits down and she takes a minute to see what has cleared from the bank, where she might be overspending, she pulls out her receipts and puts them in her budgeting apps. She just makes sure that every single day she takes a minute to mind her money.
This is a really great thing to do on a regular basis to make sure that you're actually sticking to your budget every month. Have you gone over on groceries this week? Did you spend more than you needed to on gas? Did you spend less? Then you can roll that gas money over.
You have to mind your money. You have to manage it. Because what gets managed, grows. What gets regularly tended to and cared for, grows and thrives and succeeds.