Budgeting for Beginners: How to Fix Your Budget Mistakes

We all do it, especially when we first start budgeting. We make mistakes! Starting a budget can feel overwhelming and setbacks make us want to quit. Don't!!

If you are new to budgeting, it can be a tough thing to get the hang of. At least it was for us. First of all, it’s tough to lay everything out, to begin with. When you’re used to just letting money spend itself it can be tricky trying to tell it where to go. Then there are those weeks or months where you feel like the entire budget blows up in your face and you are left scrambling to figure out what went wrong. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you-you’re not alone in these mishaps and I’m here to help guide you through the top budget mistakes!

*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Review your spending

Sometimes when we notice a mistake in our budget our instant reaction is to just throw up our arms and scream, “I give up! Why do I even try!?”

Before you panic, grab your budget plan, open up your bank statements, and sit down with both of them and this FREE Budget Check-In from the Budget Bundle.

We all do it, especially when we first start budgeting. We make mistakes! Starting a budget can feel overwhelming and setbacks make us want to quit. Don't!!

If you don’t have a full budget system in place yet, check out the Fun Sized Budget Bundle. It’s a super simple budgeting system and tutorial to help you get started with a simple, hands-on, budget!

Now, look over your purchases and tally up what you spent and where. There is also a super-handy Spending Tracker in the Budget Bundle so you can easily keep track!

Knowing where you stand with your spending is the first step to helping you overcome any budgeting obstacles you might be facing!

Ask for help!

Another awesome way to help navigate budgeting is to spend time with like-minded individuals! Come join my Fun Sized Budgeters Facebook group.

We chat real-life spending, can reach out to one another for advice and even just vent about the stresses of learning how to spend, save or invest!

We all do it, especially when we first start budgeting. We make mistakes! Starting a budget can feel overwhelming and setbacks make us want to quit. Don't!!
The Fun Sized Budget Bundle was designed to create a simple, easy to organize system!

Where did you overspend?

Were there parts of your budget that you went over on?

Maybe you bought more groceries than you anticipated or pushed your entertainment budget a bit?

Perhaps you decided that a sale was just too good to pass up and totally blew through your clothing fund. I’ve been there….about 800 times. 12 Steps to Overcoming a Shopping Addiction.

Whatever the case, it’s important to get clear on what went wrong. It can be very eye-opening to realize where you are budgeting incorrectly.

Taking the time to add up those costs can be a major awakening.

Change your budget to match

You know what I used to believe? When you overspend on something, you should carry the shame and guilt with you everywhere.

The only way to fix this “problem” was to spend less! Knock it off! Get your sh*t together!

Now, I understand it’s a matter of planning your spending better!

If you originally filled in your budget sheet hoping to spend $600 on groceries and you end up spending $800, shaming yourself for overspending isn’t going to help anyone.

Instead, maybe try changing your budget to $800 instead of $600. This number seems more reasonable to what you and your family might need.

Set new goals

If you’re not thrilled about a $200 grocery budget jump, let me encourage you to just a new goal.

You were off in your spending by $200, so I think it’s safe to say you way over-shot your goal. This time, aim for $750 and see how it goes. If it goes well, next time try for $700.

Financial spending habits that you’ve had for decades aren’t going to instantly go away. It’s ok to work your way there. Expecting perfection will only set you up for failure.

We all do it, especially when we first start budgeting. We make mistakes! Starting a budget can feel overwhelming and setbacks make us want to quit. Don't!!
Financial spending habits that you’ve had for decades aren’t going to instantly go away.

Did you forget to pay a bill?

Was there something you just totally forgot to add into your budget? Don’t stress, it happens.

Here are some potential solutions:

  • Use a bill tracker to help you keep track of what has and hasn’t been paid.
  • Call the company and ask to waive any late fees (especially if you are a first time offender).
  • Set up automatic bill pay so you’re sure never to be late again!

Pan for the unplanned

Did an emergency or unexpected event pop up that you hadn’t originally planned for? Flat tire, vet bill, random birthday party?

Surprises come up all the time and there is nothing we can do but take deep breaths and try not to panic.

When these moments present themselves, it allows you an opportunity to better prepare your budget for the following month.

You can do this by including these things in your budget, creating Sinking Funds for these things, and by making sure you have a solid $1,000 or more emergency fund in place. Join my Fast Cash training to help you save right now!

Get a Cash Card

A lot of times people recommend using cash because it’s a hands-on method that allows you better control of the areas you tend to over-spend in. First of all, this method might not work for everyone and if you’re anything like me, you get nervous carrying around cash!

The best solution to this is to get yourself a Cash Card instead!

How the Cash Card works is by pre-loading your funds through the Cash App. Then you can keep track of your remaining balance in the app itself!

For example, if you have a $100 shopping budget and this is an area where you tend to over-spend, try pre-loading $100 onto your Cash Card. Every time you make a purchase, you can check the Cash App to see what your remaining balance is!

This method is a great way to allow yourself the freedom to spend while still managing to keep track of your budget quickly and easily. Get the Cash App now!

Do you need to reduce expenses?

Sometimes we continually struggle in a particular budgeting area because we are over-spending in other, less important areas.

If you are feeling like money is always tight, it might mean that you need to reduce your cost of living. In other words, find ways to pay less each month.

This could mean paying less on your bills, setting up a debt payoff plan, or cut some of your expenses altogether.

Make a new game plan

Now that you know where you went wrong and you have a clear idea of what to do differently the next round make sure you write it out and get a better budget plan going!

Make the adjustments

This budgeting thing can definitely be an experiment. You may have to keep tweaking until you get it right.

That’s why I recommend writing everything out.

Saying it out loud and then writing it down will help program your brain to actually make it happen.

Consider another income

If you are in a deep hole, it’s time to get serious about digging yourself out. It might be time to look at getting yourself a part-time job just to try to get caught up if you are falling behind.

Personally, I have loved learning how to make a passive income online and I’m passionate about helping others learn how. Learn how to turn your skills into an online income.

Just keep swimming

Whatever the case, all you can do is work through it. Dave Ramsey started FPU in debt and filing for bankruptcy. I started this money-making blog to help pay off debt!

When it comes to budgeting, don’t stress it. Just do what you can where you can and let go where you have to and just keep on treading that water. You’ll get where you’re going!

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Author: Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.

24 thoughts on “Budgeting for Beginners: How to Fix Your Budget Mistakes”

  1. been there a million times! great info and smart info! we trashed the cc and went to just cash, it’s nice to be able to buy what we want (or need) and not have to worry about the interest and the never ending bill

  2. All very good tips – especially the one about not being able to pay every bill, every month. I think the idea of focusing on what’s MOST important is a good one. And using cash is usually a good way to spend less!

    Lauren

    1. Right? I feel like Dave Ramsey telling me it’s ok if I can’t do it all was extremely helpful!

    1. I have re-done ours like 4 times this month!! haha As we prep to finish tackling our debt I keep thinking of new ways to move money around!

  3. How many people think about when the budget going wrong?
    We created a budget lesson in our email financial mess series and budget going wrong hadn’t donned on us.
    What we got out of this:
    -Doing a compare and contrast is smart. Time consuming but will show where the inconsistency and overspending went.
    -The bills are never forgotten just ignored, lol. Though seriously a few automatic bills fall through the cracks going un noticed.
    -Such an informative post.
    Can we use this as a resource in our financial series?

    1. I would be happy to have you share. Please be sure to link back to my page. Thank you very much for your positive thoughts!

  4. It took me a good couple of years to get my budget to work. I kept getting unexpected things crop up. And I forget about several once a year payments. I Now have a life fund which helps when things come up unexpectedly that I want to say Yes to and a fund that I pay into all year to cover once a year payments. This pretty much means my budget stays roughly the same month by month.

    1. I have had fun doing that this month. Really trying to finish off our debts has made me evaluate and re-evaluate everything…and then again.

  5. I love that you mention “just keep swimming”, hah I love it. I definitely need to start a budget now. My mom lost my dad 2 weeks ago so I’ve moved in to help her, but her (their) bills & my bills still have to be paid. This advice came a long at a hard time and I thank you for the clairity.

    1. It’s all you can do. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my dad when I was 19 and since he wasn’t married I was left trying to figure out so many thing I just didn’t even comprehend. I’m glad the post could have been of some help during such a trying time. Much love to both of you.

  6. This is super helpful! We canceled cable, the best thing we did! The area we spend the most is food for sure, it doesn’t help that my husband and I are both chefs.

    1. Yes, food is a tough one! Probably our biggest struggle! And I couldn’t agree more about doing away with cable! Who needs it!?

  7. Thanks for this thorough post! I love your tip to only use cash; I think I need to start implementing that strategy. For some reason, I am much more frugal when I have to pay with cash. Plus, if I don’t have enough money, I simply can’t buy it!

    1. Exactly! It’s a very HANDS ON approach. It definitely works best for us to do it with cash as well.

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