So your budget is suffering from a summer meltdown. Good news! That's normal. In fact, the occasional failure will make your budget stronger—if you follow these five steps.
- Reframe. Success isn't a straight-arrow process. When your spending goes haywire and your budget implodes, take it as a sign of natural deterioration. Nothing is wrong. You just need to evolve your plan to match your life.
- Rethink. Your goals should guide your budget. Slow down now and think: To what end(s) are you budgeting? To be sane? To save for a car? To pay off debt? Get back in touch with your primary drivers.
- Focus. Budgets often fizzle because you've attempted too much too fast. If your budget keeps collapsing, focus on one area at a time. Cut back a vice. Slim down your food bill. Save a little more.
- Sync. Use a budgeting tool like Mint.com to show you where your money goes, and set realistic targets. Maybe you have to spend $1200 on rent, but you could rein in that $300 monthly phone/cable/tech bill.
- Play. It takes a while to fine-tune a budget you can live with. Ask friends how they do it. Dive into our budgeting section. Try a little of this, a little of that.
Shareware. If your budget is a lemon, what could you do to make lemonade?
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