When April started off, I had a good feeling about it. You see, March was expensive for me. I had a lot of extra business expenses, like investing in a new Macbook Pro, and expanding my team so I don’t have to work as much. But I also increased my income significantly.
After that expensive month, my plan was to buckle down in April and pay off one of my credit cards in full by the end of the month, but now I’m not so sure that it’ll happen because I’ve definitely overspent my budget this month.
Going over budget is something that happens to all of us from time to time. While going over budget isn’t good, at least you are looking for solutions to get back on track. Here are some things I’m doing now that I know I’m already over budget this month, and they are strategies you can use too if and when you overspend your budget.
Evaluate Your Current Budget
Take a deep breath and remain calm. Look at your budget to figure out exactly which categories you overspent in and why.
For example, did you over spend on your entertainment budget? Maybe you are too strict in that category. Could you make adjustments to your grocery purchasing habits in order to give yourself more flexibility? Any budget that is so bare bones you can’t go out to eat or see a movie even once in a month might be a bit too tight.
Remember, a budget is a system of checks and balances which can be adjusted throughout the month to keep you on track. Even if you post your budget publicly like I do, a budget should be flexible enough that you can make changes as life happens, because there’s no way you can plan ahead for everything in life and set your budget accordingly.
Don’t Use Credit Cards
In order to avoid going overspending your budget and going into debt, do not use credit cards. You must remain within your budget if at all possible, so avoid all unessential purchases.
Putting purchases on credit is too easy to do, so find ways to cut other spending instead of just using credit to help make up for overspending your budget. If you get into the habit of using a credit card, before you know it, you’ll owe more than you can pay and then you’ll really be in trouble.
Look at Other Options
If your budget is already really tight and you can’t cut spending to make up for overspending in other categories of your budget, what other solutions are there? Maybe you could sell some things you aren’t using right now and turn them into cash.
Get a Second Job
Sometimes getting a part-time job or side hustle is the only way to get your feet back underneath you. It’s possible you may only need to work a second job temporarily to help you if you overspend your budget. It really depends on how far out of whack you are with your budget and how quickly you want to get back on track to pay off debt.
Create an Emergency Fund
In order to prevent you from overspending your budget month after month, you could set up an emergency fund. Add this line item to your budget and set aside money each month. This way you can stop the overspending cycle and get back on track for good. Just be careful not to think of your emergency fund as a way to finance extra purchases when you want things that you didn’t specifically budget for. An emergency fund is really only meant for emergencies.
What other things can you think of to do if you overspend your budget?