Over time, your budget can get stale. We’ve told you before that budgeting is not a set-it-and-forget-it activity. Sometimes you just have to throw the whole thing out and start fresh. If you think your current budget is working for you, great. Perhaps you just need to tweak it a little to really put it to work for you. But if you see the following warning signs, it might be time to rethink everything and build again.
The Warning Signs: How to Tell it’s Time to Start Fresh
Here are a few warning signs that you have a problematic budget:
- You keep overspending your budget month after month. This is a biggie. If you keep overspending your budgeting categories you need to rethink how much you need to modify (a) your behavior or (b) how much you allocate to those categories.
- You keep spending from categories you aren’t supposed to. If you are doing this, more than likely your categories are not well defined. For example, you might have a “House” category and a “Housing Items” category. These are not very well defined. Perhaps you need to label them as “Mortgage” and “Household Supplies.” You get the idea!
- Your spouse isn’t on board. If you are having trouble getting your spouse to do the budget with you, you might have created a budget is only focused on you. Other people have other needs and desires. If you aren’t effectively communicating these things with your spouse, now is the time to start. You’ll find out all kinds of things about each other that you wouldn’t have otherwise! Sit down and have a casual meeting. If your spouse could design their very own budget, what would they have in it?
The Salvageables: How to Know What to Keep
There are a few things you’ll want to keep from your budget, namely, any piece of it that it important to keep your short-term spending down. For example, if you are in the middle of a month and have $250 left in your grocery budget, you don’t want to fund your new budget with $500 for the rest of the month. Jot down how much you have left in each category and make reasonable, frugal decisions. After that, look at the things that are keeping your spending down over time as well.
The Re-Start: How to Begin Anew
Now it is time to rewrite your budget. Start as much from scratch as possible, reconsidering all your spending along the way. Find out how much money you are really spending and start there.
It helps to get the opinion of others who are following a budget and find out how much money they spend on various categories. Try to compare apples to apples, as you want to have a fair representation of what your budget should look like. Once you have an idea what should change about your budget, consider building an online visual budget, a pencil-and-paper budget, or just start with a basic budget and get the ball rolling again.
How do you revamp a budget? Please share your best tips below and help a neighbor budget better.
John Frainee is a Customer Columnist here at PerkStreet, and the webmaster and a writer for the ever-growing blog, The Christian Dollar. John enjoys exploring how faith and finance interact, spending time with his wife and family, and meeting readers from all over the web. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Christian Counseling and loves encouraging others in their financial pursuits. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Budgeting for something special? Learn more about PerkStreet FinancialSM, where you can earn up to 2% cash back on a debit card!