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7 Reasons Why Your Budget May Not Be Working

Budgets always start with the best intentions, but over time many realize that for whatever reason, their budget isn’t working. Don’t worry. Budgeting is rarely straightforward, and it’s perfectly normal to experience a few hiccups as you learn a new habit. Tracking and limiting your spending can take some getting used to. To help people who are struggling to stick to their budget, we’ve compiled 7 common reasons a budget runs into trouble, and how to get it back on track.

You haven’t tweaked it

Your budget isn’t set in stone. In fact, you should be ready to tweak and adapt your budget to the realities of your life. When you first start budgeting, you won’t be perfect with you estimation of costs and expenses. That’s fine. As time goes on, reflect on your spending and tweak your budget when necessary. Life isn’t static, so why should your budget be? 

You didn’t leave enough room for fun

Be realistic. When you’re creating your budget, it can be tempting to imagine that you can cut out all the fun and lower your expenses. You still need to have a life, even when you’re budgeting. It’s better to put money aside for fun things than to end up spending the money anyway and losing faith in your budget.

You’re not working with your partner

Is your partner on board with your budget? If your financial goals are not aligned, then your budget is likely to fail. Make sure to work with your partner and agree on goals, together. In this way, you can support and discipline one another and give your budget the best chance of succeeding. 

You’re not disciplined enough

This may sound obvious, but once you’ve made your budget – stick to it. It’s certainly easier said than done, but if you’re serious about achieving your goals, then what you write in your budget has to be something you can achieve, not just a theory. There will be tough decisions to make, but they’re necessary to make your budget work.

You didn’t budget for irregular expenses or emergencies

Holidays, birthdays, broken washing machines and the rest can quickly force unexpected expenses. The best way to deal with this is to take a look at your calendar at the start of each month and take things like birthdays and holidays into account, and then put money aside for them. At the same time, make sure you have an emergency fund that you can use to pay for unexpected costs like repairs or fines.

Is budgeting too much work?

It’s not easy to keep track of a budget. Analyzing, tracking and reflecting on your spending takes time, and when your budget becomes another thing on your ‘To-do list’, you may want to forget about it altogether. If this is the case, then you should consider switching to simpler methods.

You could try withdrawing a cash lump sum, week-by-week, and only allowing yourself to use this money during that week. Or you could try the envelope method. Decide spending limits for each spending category, and then separate the cash into different envelopes for each category. For example, once you’ve spent your allotted money in the ‘Groceries’ envelope – that’s it. This can help you control your spending in a simple, efficient way. 

You gave up too quickly

Don’t give up! Developing budgeting habits take time. They’re vital to getting your finances back on track. It’s part of a positive process that will be worth it in the long run.


Budgeting is an essential part of practicing good financial hygiene, but sometimes a budget isn’t enough to get you where you want to be, fast enough. Here at CreditAnswers, we work to help people dig their way out of debt and take back control of their lives. If you’re interested in learning how you could be debt-free in as little as 24-36 months, get in touch with us for a no-nonsense, obligation-free consultation.



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