How to Fix your Broken Budget

The budget you have today, right now, is not meant to be permanent. It’s flexible, it’s fluid. It can and will change. Furthermore, it should change. Your budget is a living document. So instead of trying to squeeze into it like a pair of jeans that no longer fits, give yourself some breathing room and create the budget you need to match your life as it is now. It’s time to fix your broken budget. 

Often times we can start with a plan and a budget that works. We can live within it. It matches our needs, and it works great for a while. But a lot of people forget that as life changes, they might need to update or change their plan accordingly.

You shouldn’t be trying to fit your life into your budget. If it feels as if you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, it might be time to update your budget. Here are four signs that it’s time. 

Sign Number 1: You aren’t sticking to your budget.

This may be true even if for the longest time your budget was just fine. You had no issues with your budget. It worked for you. But if you find that if feels like a struggle to stay within the budget you’ve set, that could be a problem. Likewise, if you find yourself constantly overspending or even having WAY too much left over at the end of your pay period, you could need to update and change your budget. 

Sign Number 2: You’re not engaged.

If budgeting used to give you a little twinkle in your eye and now you dread having to go in and update it, something is off. You may find that you keep putting more and more time in between updating your budget. You put it off and put it off and put it off and get so far behind that updating feels like a big chore on your to do list. 

Sign Number 3: You find any excuse to ignore it. 

You how when sometimes you have a task that you just don’t want to do and you will find any excuse not to do it? So many writers on book deadlines talk about finding excuses to clean their entire house before they sit down and write some pages on their computer. If your budget has become that for you, you may need a new budget.

Sign Number 4: Goals, schmoals. 

If you don’t feel as excited about your progress or the future you budget may no longer be serving you. None of your goals having you feeling fired up is a problem. And since your budget should reflect and mirror your goals, then you need feeling excited about your goals is a sign you budget’s not serving you the way it should.  

Why Budgets Break Down:

Feeling this way about your budget can happen for a few different reasons.

  • Your priorities change
  • Your values change
  • Your goals shift
  • You or your partner change

People are static. They are dynamic. The change and grow and life happens all around them. Because of that, your budget needs to change and grow too. So if you’ve had any big mindset shifts recently or big life changes, but didn’t change your budget to match that, you’ll need to.

Steps to take to Correct Your Budget:

  1. Ask yourself: If you were to start from scratch today with a budget, what would you want on it?
  2. Imagine this is like your Marie Kondo process- where you take EVERYTHING out of your closet and only the things you LOVE go back in. Yes, you’re doing to KonMari your budget. Start with a BLANK spreadsheet, a BLANK budget. What goes on it? Only put on it your commitments and the things that bring your joy
  3. Focus on your values. It’s super normal that our values can shift over time or they can suddenly feel more important than they previously did. Make sure you’re doing a gut check in with what’s most important to you.
  4. Ask yourself about your goals. On a scale of 1 to 5, how excited are you about them?

I give you permission to change your budget to fit your life.

Listen to Episode 120 of the Fiscal Fitness Podcast for more info and tips on how to change your budget to fit your life.

Resources / links related to topic / mentioned in podcast:

Want some budgeting inspiration? Read these client success stories. We are always inspired by what our financial coaching clients accomplish!