We’ve all been here. We’re cruisin’ along, not a care in the world and we’re sticking to our monthly budget. YES! (it’s only day 2…) We are impenetrable to the temptations of materialism that surround us, we can’t be sold anything. We know that we want to save up for that awesome vacation at the end of the year, so we’ve limited our spending on anything that would keep us from reaching that goal. We are the masters of our………OH! THERE’S A SALE ON SHOES AT NORDSTROM?! I THINK MY FEET JUST STARTED HURTING! I NEEEEED SOME NEW SHOES!
So You Blew The Budget. Now What?
Don’t Panic! (Hitchhiker’s reference……anyone?). So you blew the budget? Good. Now you know what it feels like. It feels like a nice new pair of shoes that you can’t wear on your vacation because you HAD TO HAVE THEM! Well, not really, you do still have a few options:
- Return The Item. Yes, they look fabulous with your new dress (yes, you also bought a new dress because you needed something to wear with the shoes!) But you also have a dozen other shoes you can wear with NOT the new dress (that you are also taking back). Luckily, you bought these shoes at Nordstrom, and they’ll take back anything. If you can’t take them back, you should be able to haggle management at least for a gift card to be used later for gifts or something. Remember, if the shoes are not your priority, you can delay gratification for a little while so you can stick to your actual priority, which in this case is a vacation. Don’t worry; I’m sure this wasn’t the last shoe sale ever in history!
- Adjust Your Budget. Budgets are living documents. I don’t like the notion that what you set at the beginning of the month is written in stone, and if anyone dares to defy the almighty budget, that it is blasphemy! No, no, no. Budgets are far kinder than that. Budgets say “Hey, looks like we took a detour. That’s ok. We can make some adjustments to our route and still reach our destination on time.”(They’re much nicer than my GPS navigation lady!) Anyway… Maybe you didn’t anticipate your need for shoes, and you need to up your spending cash for the month. Just make sure you reduce another part of the budget the same amount you increased the “spending cash” category. Remember, your money is finite, and if you need to increase one area, you need to equally decrease another.
- Adjust Your Goals. Maybe you were too ambitious when planning your upcoming vacation. You had hoped to save up a few thousand dollars in 6 months, but that limits your budget far too much. Assuming you haven’t bought tickets or made any permanent plans, you can always push the vacation out a few months to ensure you are able to save up enough money to enjoy it. As with any goal, you should set your goal with a date and reverse engineer it to figure out how much you need to save each month to hit that goal.
- Or You Can Ditch The Goal Altogether. Maybe, after wearing your amazing new shoes (and dress) out a few times, getting into a tabloid photo because paparazzi mistook you for Sofia Vergara, getting a promotion at work because of your fashion sense, then rejecting that promotion because you decided to open your own fashion line and funding that start-up with your winning lottery ticket because of your lucky shoes….maybe you can redirect your goals. Those shoes might take priority over a vacation, and that’s fine. As long as you acknowledge that you would rather have those new shoes than a vacation, then you’re golden (and rich!…[maybe you should keep those shoes after all…hmmm]).
Whatever You Do, Don’t Give Up
Blowing your budget can have a psychological affect that causes you to want to give up on your budget. You may curse the budget, kick it a few times, talk bad about it’s ugly numbers and throw it to the curb. But, the budget is just a mirror. When you hold it up, you see yourself in integer form. There’s no reason to get discouraged about spending too much money, but what you should get is re-motivated.
Sure, you may have made a few poor choices with your money, but there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water (…never really got this saying….if you’re throwing bath water out the window…you have more important issues to address…). You can dust yourself off, get up and keep on chuggin’. Blowing your budget once or twice does not negate the budget as a whole, and also does not mean you can’t reach your goals. Just re-asses your situation, pick one of the four options above and move on. If you don’t, you will just go back to old habits, never know where your money is going and live paycheck to paycheck. Trust me, budgeters have WAY MORE FUN!!