Anyone who starts to manage their money is going to run into budgeting challenges at some point.
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
You fight with your significant other about how the money just, “isn’t there.” A family member is hurt and you have no way to pay for medical expenses. Your friends want to party, but you just want to pay off debt.
Let me reassure you that having problems with your budget is completely normal! Budgets are always evolving and becoming more complex!
It takes time to get comfortable with budgeting and tracking your money on a regular basis. However, it’s well worth it when you start figuring it out.
My wife and I have the occasional disagreement on how to best manage our money, but we always manage to work it out. Resolving problems requires a little patience and communication, but it is worth it!
While there is a vast array of problems that come up with budgeting, there seems to be a few common problems that come up. So today, I’m writing the best ways to overcome your budgeting challenges so that you can keep moving forward with your life.
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How to solve your toughest budgeting challenges
Budgeting challenge #1: fighting with your partner over competing priorities
When you’re in a relationship, it’s only a matter of time before you have a fight about money.
Fighting about money is extremely common among couples because we have our own goals and priorities. You will need to communicate your feelings and be willing to compromise if you’re going to coexist under a single budget.
My wife and I disagree often on what to do with extra money. I’m a huge fan of investing but my wife would rather have cash on hand or purchase an item we need around the house.
So how do we get around fighting about money? As I said before, talk to your partner in a safe environment and come to an agreement.
Sometimes my wife gets the extra money and sometimes I do. Other times we might split the money for our own goals.
You both need to sit down together and hash your budget out!
You can’t go through a marriage or relationship without consideration for the other persons goals. Sometimes your goals will be conflicting and other times you’ll both be looking to achieve the same thing.
Do not let money problems cost you a relationship
Money problems and management are one of the biggest causes of divorce. The problem is that no one is actually sitting down and talking about money.
I highly recommend couples take a money and marriage course. It’s not that you’re bad at money management, but more of an opportunity to improve your relationship.
Taking courses and reading books together is a great way for couples to understand each other and grow. Couples who work together to improve them relationship tend to have happier marriages that stand the test of time.
One of the best financial courses I ever took was Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. The course gave my wife and I a similar starting ground for how we were going to manage our finances.
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Budgeting challenge #2: figuring out how to pay for unexpected expenses
Life happens. It just does!
One day things are looking great and the next, you’re fighting over how you are going to fix your car or pay for unexpected medical bills.
Life throws us unexpected budgeting expenses.
You need to have a plan for the unexpected. You need an emergency fund of 3-6 months expenses to take life’s curveballs.
An emergency fund is money you set aside for unexpected expenses so you don’t go further into debt.
My budget includes my main emergency fund in my budget, as well as, smaller and more specific funds such as auto repair. I plan for future events because I know cars break down, need new tires, my job could fire me tomorrow, or I could end up in the hospital unexpectedly.
What would you do if you lost your job today?
I am prepared for financial crisis now because I took action, set up an emergency fund, and saved money.
Back in 2017, my company went through horrible layoffs. The seventh round of layoffs was particularly brutal.
My group of coworkers was reduced in half! These people had no plan in place, some with new kids or a new home.
They had no idea what to do next because they never anticipated a job loss! While I didn’t want to be laid off, I had enough money saved for 6 months of living. That’s 6 months to find another job!
What would you do right now if you lost your job today?
Most people have nothing prepared for financial crisis. Start making a monthly savings goal and start building an emergency fund.
Try and hit $1,000 in emergency fund savings as soon as possible. $1,000 is usually enough for small emergencies like car repair or a trip to urgent care.
Life is about managing risks. Discuss with your partner how much risk you are willing to take and figure out how much money you should save to be prepared.
Budgeting challenge #3: not enjoying budgeting and wanting to quit
Budgeting in itself is a challenge for anyone. Nobody said it would be fun or exciting.
While it is hard to make budgeting fun, doing it more often will make it easier. One of my best tips is to write your purchases down as they happen.
I might shop at Walmart and write in my iPhone notes “2/5 $30.24 Walmart groceries.” When I remember to record my purchases, budgeting is easy as opening my budget spreadsheet and transferring my notes.
I recommend everyone entering their purchases once a week. Have you ever tried to remember what you purchased a month ago? It’s not easy.
Frequent budget entries are key to making budgeting easy.
Please don’t give up on budgeting. It’s easier to save money when you can track your purchases.
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Budgeting challenge #4: wanting to have fun and enjoy money
I don’t blame you for wanting to spend your money. Having fun typing costs money and sometimes a budget can feel like it’s restricting your fun.
However, you should budget some money into having fun to enjoy life!
In no way should you give up date night or time with friends, but you should still be responsible with your money.
If you are running low on money then it’s time to get creative. What fun activities can you do at home or around town for little to no money?
They goal is to find a happy medium between spending money and having fun.
My wife and I have small savings categories in our budget such as free spending and date night. We do our best to have as much fun as the money will allow.
If we spend all of our date night money we start thinking of things we can do at home. Rather than go to the movies we might get a $1 redbox or find a movie on Netflix while eating microwave popcorn.
What are inexpensive options for fun that you enjoy doing?Click to Tweet! Please share!Click To Tweet
Budgeting challenge #5: giving up eating out and finding the energy to cook
I know the last thing on your mind after a long day at work is cooking. However, most of us are probably eating our paychecks!
One of the challenges of budgeting is having great tasting food at home that is just as convenient as TacoBell. Batch cooking and weekend food prep will be life savers.
Again, you don’t have to give up eating out completely! You just need to cut back to be within the means of your budget.
Having a go to meal is perfect to help you start cooking at home. A go to meal is one of your favorites that you can cook easily and without much thinking.
My go to meal is tacos. If I’m tired and have no clue what to eat, I’m probably cooking tacos.
I grew up on tacos so I could probably cook them blindfolded.
Cook dinner immediately when you get home. If you get home and get cozy chances are you’ll start relaxing. No one wants to cook when they’re trying to relax.
I try to limit any eating out to weekends and I try to have a mindset for cooking all week long. That being said, it’s easier to cook a 15 minute meal than one that takes an hour!
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Budgeting challenge #6: saying “no” to your friends and family
No one wants to be the fuddy-duddy that can’t hang with their friends because, “they’re on a budget.”
I get it!
Sometimes you have to say no to your friends. Other times you simply need to explain the situation and come up with cheaper alternatives.
Don’t let your friends drag you down. Paying off debt and reaching your financial goals is tough. Your friends are probably broke!
Understand that most people aren’t trying to be financially responsible and they see budgeting as no fun. Your friends will naturally want to bring you down to their level.
My friends would always want to go drinking and do things that require money. I would often get responses such as, “oh come on, it’s only $50.”
Have you ever stopped and thought about how long it takes you to earn $50? Some people earn $50 an hour, but most earn around $10. That’s 5 hours to earn $50!
Do you think spending $50 will be a good use of 5 hours of your life you’ll never get back?
When it comes to paying off debt you have to keep chipping away at it. $50 here and $20 there adds up in the long run.
It’s ok to start saying no to your friends and family when it comes to spending your money. It gets easier, especially when you start seeing progress on your financial goals.
Budgeting challenge #7: figuring out budget spreadsheets and tracking expenses
Spreadsheets can be frustrating and tracking your expenses sounds tedious. However, there are other alternatives that make budgeting less excruciating.
Some people open up multiple bank accounts or sub accounts of a bank account. They divide their money among the accounts, knowing each account is for a specific item like free spending or bills.
Other people use the cash envelope system, where they withdraw cash each month and keep the money divided into envelopes. These envelopes are for specific purchases like groceries or entertainment.
Other people prefer to use apps to track their money, such as Mint.
No one said you HAVE TO use a spreadsheet, it’s just a popular method. What system works for you?
If you’re looking to save money, consider signing up for our free course on budgeting and saving money. The course is full of information to help your family start saving more money!
What would you do with more money?