There are months when sticking to your budget seems very easy. There are also months when you manage to blow your budget even when you have been careful with your money.
If you are working without an emergency fund, any unexpected expenses like a medical bill can blow your budget at the beginning of the month.
It is stressful to realize that you are out of money and still have several days or even weeks until you get paid again.
If you have blown your budget, you need to reduce the amount of money that you spend each day.
Depending on how tight your budget is, you may need to stop all spending completely.
You should bring your lunch from home and do everything you can to really reduce the amount that you spend on food.
It is important to think about necessities versus luxuries at this point. If it is a luxury, then you need to skip it for the rest of the month.
You should even work on reducing the amount that you would normally spend on necessities. This can make a big difference in how long it takes you to recover from a financial mistake.
You may also want to consider selling some things to raise extra cash, taking on extra hours or picking up part-time work to cover the difference.
01 Should I Use a Credit Card?
This is a tricky situation. It is not a good idea to use a credit card, but if you are choosing between not eating at all for the rest of the month or using your credit card to buy groceries, then it is better to eat.
However, this means that you are buying inexpensive items, you are not eating out and you are doing everything you can to reduce the amount that you are spending.
You should not eat out on the credit card, and you should not be using it to go to the movies.
You do not need to wrack up big bills to travel for entertainment reasons when you are in this situation. You should also have a clear plan on how you are going to pay this off in the next month or two.
02 How Can I Stop This From Happening Again?
If you find yourself in a pattern where you consistently run out of money or blow your budget at the beginning of the month, you need to work to change your situation.
If it is something like a car repair or an unexpected expense, then an emergency fund should solve your problem.
This allows you to cover the expense without affecting the rest of your budget.
If you find this happening all of the time, you need to consider whether or not you have spending issues that you need to address.
You also need to consider if your budget is actually working. Often people who struggle this way do not have a budget at all.
03 Why Does My Budget Never Seem to Work?
If you are having a hard time following your budget, you may be facing a few different issues.
The first thing you need to consider is if you set your budget categories at a realistic level.
When you first set up a budget you may arbitrarily decide that you can get by with spending only $100.00 a week on food.
However, if up to this point you have been spending $200.00 a week, this is a big difference and you may not be able to do it.
You may want to try cutting back gradually until you reach your goal.
You may also be having a hard time tracking your expenses. This means that you are overspending in certain categories like entertainment and then you are out of money when it is time to buy groceries.
Finally, you may have an income issue where you simply do not make enough to cover your necessities or your lifestyle.
You will need to cut back your spending and work on raising your income.