Budgets: Getting back on Track

by Dual Income No Kids on February 3, 2009 · 0 comments

The reality is that one cannot truly be in control of their finances without first starting at the basic level of the budget. Even the best of us manage to get off track from time to time. Here are my thoughts on a few reasons why this happens and how to get yourself back on track.

My take is that most people often vary between a couple of camps:

1) Those who ignore budgeting; and
2) Those who have a budget in place but might not follow it very closely.
3) The rare few who keep stellar watch on our person budgets.

Let’s face it, most of us go back and forth between watching our budgets closely, and letting things slip. We all know that budgets are key to financial management, but it is harder to implement in reality.

From my experience there are a couple of times when budgets are likely to slip:

When Times are Rough. Though it may be the worst time to divert from your budget, hiding ones head in the sand is often a reaction to knowing in the back of your mind that you might be over spent. This is why people who most need to look at their budgets instead just don’t even check their accounts.

When Times are Good. If you are running a surplus and plenty of cash is in the bank, it is very easy not to have to pay attention to adhering to a budget closely.

When Times are in Transition. You are at an in between place where you know that things are likely to change, but you don’t know what things will look like on the other side. This is one that is often the case for me, as my budget changes dramatically when I’m in or out of the country, or for now when I am both getting a new salary and projected to out of the country for a bit.

Have you fallen off the budget wagon? Is your budget totally out of date and you don’t have a clue of whether you are hitting it or not? You are likely not alone. The first key to getting back on track is to recognize that you are aren’t keeping track of your budget Accept what is. Start where you are and get yourself back on track.

I’ll use myself as an example, here are the steps I will take over the next week, as I’ve already managed the first step of admitting that I’m not on track:

1) Create a new regular budget based on our current income.

2) Create a short term budget for my time here in Africa. Chances are that I can actually save a bit more (only because there is nothing to spend money on but expensive dinners). I will check back in and keep folks posted on both. In the mean time I’ll be working on project budgets!

Readers: If you have ways that you get back on track we would love to hear.


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