5 Simple Fixes for Common Budget Problems


Whether you're just starting to consider budgeting for the first time, or you've been using the strategy for years, it's worth noting that financial freedom isn't always easy to come by. There's a good chance that you'll run into issues that make budgeting harder, and there are a handful of problems that are generally more common among those trying to gain control of their spending.

Whether you're a frugal person or not, it can take a lot of work to get your budget into pristine condition. Here are just some of the most common problems that people face with their spending habits, and the budget fixes you can use to address them.

Your Cash Flow Is Poor 
A lot of families assume that if they have a poor income, there's simply nothing they can do to save back extra money each month. If you're running out of cash before the end of each month, to begin with, then it's easy to see how you might struggle to find enough money for a savings account and emergency fund.

Fortunately, you don't have to be rich to have a budget. In fact, the people who benefit most from budgeting are often those that struggle with money. Look at the things you can cut back on that you may not have thought about before. For instance, could you switch your gas and electricity supplier? How about getting rid of your TV channels and switching to Netflix instead?

You Buy a Lot on Impulse
Another major money problem that you can fix with good budgeting is 'impulse buying'. Many of us assume that we're good with money, until we sit down with a bank statement and see how much cash we've wasted on extra treats from the corner shop, or fast food. If you're the kind of person who tends to add something to your basket without a second thought, then you need to correct your spending habits.

A good way to reduce your chance of impulse buying is to swear off online shopping. Instead, go and buy what you need from a physical store, with a list, and the exact amount of money you need in your pocket. When you only have so much cash available to spend, you won't be able to buy anything extra - no matter how tempted you feel!

You Forget to Track Your Spending
It's hard to have an effective and accurate budget if you forget to track how much you're spending each month. If this is a problem for you, then you could try sticking to the 'envelope' budgeting method. This means that you set all of your expenses aside for the month into separate envelopes. That might include one envelope for food, one for fuel, and one for entertainment. If you don't pay your bills by direct debit, you can include those too. 

Tracking your envelopes and the money that comes directly out of your account each month will help to give you some accurate numbers to work with. Remember, with the envelope method; you should be dealing only in cash. Don't use your card to pay for anything.

You Always Overspend in One Category
We all have our vices. Maybe you're great at cutting down your spending on entertainment and treats, but you always overspend on clothing. Perhaps you have trouble cutting down on the nights out you have with friends. There's nothing wrong with having a problem category, but you'll need to think about how you're going to adjust your spending in that area.

A good option may be to use a reward system where if you limit enough spending in the month, you get to treat yourself with something from the category you enjoy. Alternatively, you can look at reducing your spending in other areas, so you can keep that single category the same.

You Just Don't Earn Enough
Finally, sometimes it feels like no matter what you do to improve your budget, you're never going to have enough money in your bank account to pay for what you need. If that's the case, then you could consider looking for a second job or an alternative way to make money. For instance, you could launch your own side-business from home - walking dogs or delivering catalogues.

There's also plenty of online options for earning extra money thanks to the current freelancer community. You could find a great night-time gig that helps to upgrade your monthly income!

This is a collaborative post.

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