It’s important to keep your budget tight, but is it possible to make it too restrictive? There can be a happy medium between a budget that is loose and flexible and a budget that is rigid and allows no deviations.
Does your budget allow for any unexpected expenses?
If you have a bare bones budget, it may be a little too restrictive if it doesn’t allow for unexpected expenses. You know what those are: The extra $25 you have to spend on shoes for your daughter’s gym class or the $20 for a new taillight on your vehicle. There are plenty of things that pop up every month that you really hadn’t planned on, but once they arise, you can’t put them off.
If your budget doesn’t have an allowance for the unexpected, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Something that is urgent and can’t be ignored can derail your budget if you don’t have some type of plan to take care of it.
Does your budget allow you to have some fun?
No matter how tight your budget is, you need to allow for some occasional fun or entertainment — even if it’s a DVD rental once in awhile or an ice cream cone on a hot evening. It’s easy to think that you can whittle your budget down and cut out everything, but if you don’t allow yourself even a few bucks each month to have some down time or some fun and entertainment, you are definitely setting yourself up for trouble.
Is your budget so tight that there is no wiggle room?
Take a look at your budget. Is there any wiggle room in it? What will happen if you haven’t made allowances for variations in your income or expenses? For example, if you’ve allowed $150 each month for your electric bill, will your budget accommodate a $250 bill if it skyrockets during the summer months? There are other variations that may occur in your budget — no matter how tight it is. You may need more in your fuel expense one month due to an unplanned trip or an increase in gas prices or your food bill may increase due to unexpected guests or a holiday meal.
No matter what the reason for the extra expense, if you make your budget too restrictive so you don’t have wiggle room, you will end up derailing your entire spending plan.
A budget that is too restrictive can result in disaster. If you haven’t planned for something that could easily arise, you will end up taking the funds from somewhere else to cover it. When that happens, you can send your entire budget into a tailspin that can be hard to recover from.
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