I admit, living on a budget can be tricky! But having a written, real-for-your-life budget is the way to win financially. Money that is not watched, is spent.

Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Proverbs 23:5

Money flys away…it’s in the Bible!! So we exercise wisdom when we give direction and purpose to what has been assigned to us. Even in doing so it’s necessary to watch out for hidden budget busters that can undermine our hard work and efforts.

Watch out for these 6 Budget Busters

1. Know every draft date on your account. Have you ever planned out your spending for the month and out of nowhere a payment or draft occurs that you completely forgot about? It’s certainly happened to me. To limit these instances, add any draft dates and amounts every payment to your personal calendar. Set an alert each month with each payment so that you won’t forget the expense. This simple step is key to understanding your cash flow needs.

2. Don’t swipe your debit card while eating out. The food category is usually an unexpected budget buster. If not careful, eating out can really set you off course. The only cure that I have found is to not swipe my debit card but instead use cash for eating out. Yes, it’s awkward in this day of quick, quick, quick but it also causes most people to overspend. Think about it–convenient or broke?

3. If sharing an account with someone else, communicate! Whenever it’s necessary to spend outside of the original plan, it’s best to talk over the decision and transaction with your partner. In doing so, it may help with deciding if whether or not the transaction is totally needed. Usually unplanned expenses can cause a domino effect that can lead to overdrafts. Just as we wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, spend money at work without proper consent, treat your personal finances with the same regard.

4. On the last day of the month, write your budget for the following month. This can be challenging but it gives you confidence that you wouldn’t have otherwise. A perspective of what lies ahead usually keeps us from overspending and overcomitting.

5. Beware of shopping on your payday. This is a gotcha for most people! There is something deeply embedded in our understanding that says, “I just got paid, I can afford it.” Part true, part false. Yes, you just got paid but it could be 100% accounted for! So before you spend money on something that you may not be able to afford, go home, do the numbers and if the money is truly there, go back and get it!

6. Once you set your gas budget, stick to it. My weekly gas budget is $45. I don’t set my allowance based on having a full tank or the price of gas. My allowance is based on what makes my financial plan work for my success. During a normal week, I don’t need more than this amount to make it to work, church, various errands, carpool, etc.
Be careful of paying for gas based on hearing those magic clicks at the pump. Stabilize your spending and watch increase come in instead of always going out.

On His winning team,