Budgeting works for those who work at it. Sometimes, though, we struggle to maintain our budgets. Despite our best efforts we fall off, losing sight of our financial plans in favor of an appetizing short-term goal. This happens to all of us at one time or another, and it’s not the end of the world. Learn to recognize the signs when this is going to happen to you before it’s too late!

It’s okay to make this purchase, I’ve got the money.”

You want to buy something that’s not within your budget. You try justifying the purchase because it’s something that you want.

It’s not worth it! The short-term pleasure of that purchase won’t outweigh the long-term benefits of your financial goals!

If I move this money from this category, I’ll be able to afford it.”

You want to adjust your budget in order to make room for the unplanned purchase.

While adjusting your spending categories is an important part of budgeting, be wary of doing this for something you don’t really need! Remember, you set your budget with your goals in mind. Don’t break your plan for something minor or temporary.

“I’m just not going to look at my budget right now.”

You choose to not look at your budget at your scheduled times, even though that’s when you decided to maintain your records. Maybe you’re too busy at that time, maybe you don’t want to own up to the fact that you’ve messed up or want to cheat.

Reviewing your budget is an important part of the process. If you skip this, you’ll not be aware of any updates or changes you need to make for the week or month. From there, it’s a slippery slope to falling off your budget.

It’s easier to catch yourself before you fall than it is to get back on

If you realize you might be slipping, be kind to yourself. It’s a natural part of the budgeting process. However, make the decision to recommit to your budget immediately. It’ll be a lot easier than redeveloping the budgeting habit later on.

Recognize when you’re struggling and adjust

If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget, it may mean that something about it isn’t working for you. You may need to reassess how you are spending your money in order to make it a budget you can get behind. You’re better off being on a budget that isn’t “perfect” than no budget at all. It’s your journey, after all – you need to be willing to take each step.

Get help when you need it

If all else fails, seek the help of financial experts and accountability partners. They will be able to help you identify problem areas in your budget and keep you on track.

I hope this helps you identify the signs of falling off your budget. Let me know if there are signs I missed. If you need help making or sticking to your budget, check out my budgeting guide or sign up for money money coaching with me. You can also check out the rest of the Let’s Make a Budget Blog.

Good luck and happy budgeting!