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Budgets are bae! There is no way I could crush debt or save thousands without them. Once I tossed out the negative connotation of a budget, figured out my budgeting style and actually put one in place, my debt payoff kicked into high gear.
Through practice, I’ve learned that you can’t just slap numbers on a spreadsheet and go on about your day. You have to craft each month’s budget with care. If you can’t stick to your budget, see if any of these pain points hit home and try out the solutions to relieve the stress.
1. It’s not tailor-made for you.
Ladies, think of how you feel wearing that dress that fits every curve the right way. That dress that makes your ass look fabulous. Yeah, that one! You never get tired of it.
Well, that’s how your budget should feel. It should fit just right for you—not Suze Orman, not your mama, not that boss lady you follow on Instagram. These folks may offer you great tips and tools, but you have to use this budget, so make sure it’s your own.
Solution: Find a style that fits you and include budget lines you’d actually track.
There’s a variety of budgeting methods:
- the 50-30-20 budget (50% needs, 30% wants, 20% savings)
- the 80-20 budget (20% savings, 80% everything else)
- the anti-budget (My favorite. No percentages. Income – Core Expenses = Everything Else is left for guilt-free spending. Click here for details and a free printable.)
- the zero-sum budget (Accounted Income – Accounted Expenses = $0. It doesn’t mean you spend every dime and have $0 before your next pay period. It just means every dollar has a job in your budget. You can have money left over. All budgets could be a zero-sum budget.)
The budgets that look like spreadsheets on steroids give me the hives. I’m not gonna use a line item for “hair accessories.” That’s too granular, and I hate being micro-managed.
I like the anti-budget because you simply subtract savings, giving and essential expenses from your take-home pay. What’s leftover, a.k.a. the monthly nut, is yours to spend on whatever you want (hair accessories). And you don’t have to track every penny because you know bills, savings and giving are already taking care of. When that leftover money runs out, it just runs out. But that’s too loosey-goosy for me. I need a few more categories to track my spending.
I use a hybrid that allows me to track the details I want to track and nothing more. A line-item like “hair accessories” just goes into a bucket called “Entertainment and Everything Else.” It works for me. Find what works for you.
2. Your budget isn’t aligned with your values and goals.
Heck! You may not even have values and goals. We probably all have budgets we created a few years ago that never quite stuck. Why didn’t it work out? Maybe it’s because you didn’t have a strong enough reason or vision to stick to the plan. Start with your values and the rest will fall into place.