Budgets Were Made to Be Broken

iou piggbank

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

For an upcoming series of reader profiles—tell us how DailyWorth has changed your financial life for the better!

Join the Discussion