Budgeting for October
If you’re anything like us, looking back at your budget at the end of the month isn’t always easy. We started the month ambitious to rack up as much fuel as possible, determined to stick to our budget. But life happens. And whether you spent more than you made or just didn’t save as much as you would have liked, here are three tips to have a fresh start in October:
Bad Days Are Good Data
Perspective is everything. If you feel defeated by your spending habits, you will lack the motivation to tackle the next challenge. According to the book Change Anything, your first plan to achieve change won’t be perfect. It will need adjusting to be tailored to be successful for YOU. In order to understand how to adjust your budget and your habits, it’s crucial to examine where your money went and why. So, if you overspent one weekend or bought that new gadget you knew you shouldn’t, don’t just beat yourself up. Instead, examine the why of your spending choice. Then, adjust.
Make it Harder to Overspend
One mistake we make in trying to change our spending behaviors is relying solely on willpower (Change Anything). Our willpower will eventually fail us and our old habits prevail. Think of creative ways you can beat the temptation. Get a budgeting buddy – someone who can can help keep you accountable and vice versa. If you need to go shopping but don’t trust yourself with splurging, take cash with you and leave your credit card at home. If the coffee shop near your office is calling your name, bring a tea bag or packet of instant coffee and get *free* hot water from the coffee shop. You can outsmart your stubborn spending habits.
Treat Yourself….Within Your Budget
Ok, I get it, budgeting is important and willpower alone won’t get me there. But life is short, right?? Shouldn’t I be enjoying it? Absolutely. Just make room for the "fun" in your budget. Look where you can cut $10 from other categories. Then allocate that money to go the movies, out for dessert at that new place you’re dying to try, or to save towards that watch you have had your eye on. A budget with no category for “fun” is like a fad diet; eventually, you’ll fall off the wagon and eat whatever you want. Create space in you budget for a guilty pleasure, but be willingly to make trade-offs to make it happen.
Things to Account for in October Budget:
- Halloween – costumes, candy, Halloween parties
- If you are filing your taxes late (Oct 15th)
- Fall Break for kids in school
- Winter clothes (though it was 93℉ in Atlanta this past weekend…)
- Booking tickets in advance if you are planning on holiday travel
- Pumpkin Spice Lattes - everyone has to have at least one :-)