Reeling It in: How to Turn Around a Blown Budget

Can you believe it? The decade that will come to be known as “the 2010s” is nearly coming to a close. In just a few months we’ll be ringing in the new year, and with it, a new decade. And while there’s still plenty of time between then and now, those who are already reflecting on their year might be thinking of ways to improve their finances for the future.

Life can get challenging, which means that even those with the best intentions to stay on budget can struggle to keep everything hunky-dory. Have you found yourself thinking: “someone help me I’ve gone over budget and don’t know what to do!”? You’re not alone. Keep reading for the tips and tricks that you need to recover from a blown budget.

Recalculate, Adjust, Repeat

Take the following scenario: you’re a new college student who has a tight budget. You’ve set aside a certain amount of money but found that you quickly exceeded it. Transportation can be costly, too, what with vehicles coming with all sorts of associated costs auto loan payments, insurance, maintenance and repairs, fuel, and parking.

If you’ve gone over your transportation budget, you need to see what you can do to reduce your spending until your budget re-sets at the end of the month. If you’ve taken too much advantage of ride-sharing services, then you’ll just have to stick to public transportation, walking, or riding a bike for the rest of the month to keep from throwing off the whole balance of your spending categories.

Identify the Issue

If the reason that your monthly budget didn’t work was because of a one-time emergency expense, then it’s no mystery what happened. But if you blew your budget because you simply spent too much, or if exceeding your budget is a regular occurrence, it’s time to take a hard look at your spending.

Did you overspend on a one-time event, like back-to-school shopping or a birthday gift? Were impulse purchases involved? Or maybe your budget has slowly been creeping up month after month, and you’ve just now realized you’re spending too much.

Pay Your Bills ASAP

If you put some of your expenses on your credit card and you have the means to pay it off now, do so. There’s no use waiting around for the interest to collect! If paying for those bills means that you don’t add money to your savings account this month, that’s OK. Get back on track first and then you can recover your savings.

Impulse Buys: Are You Making Them?

Look through your recent transactions and find our which purchases you didn’t plan to make. Maybe it’s the Uber Eats meals you ordered at the end of a long day, the shoes you had to have because they were finally on sale, or maybe you took a trip to Walmart when you were feeling anxious or down and left with a brand-new vacuum you didn’t mean to get.

The key is to make it harder for yourself to spend money on a whim. Delete shopping and food delivery apps. Unsubscribe from emails from your favorite store. If you want to spend money on something that isn’t a need, try a waiting period of at least a week before you make the purchase. If it’s still a reasonable purchase after that amount of time, you can go ahead and get it.