We hear from people all the time saying, "I went over my budget. Now what?" If you keep a regular budget, you've probably had months where you came close to going over budget in many categories. Some months, you may have gone way over budget.
Your first instinct might be to panic. Going over budget can feel like the world is ending. How will you be able to survive until your next paycheck?
But before you lose your cool over what to do if you go over your budget, study these tips for rebounding from a broken budget:
Examine Your Other Funds
Sometimes when you go over budget, it may be in only a few categories of your budget. Maybe you've spent too much on gas, clothes, or entertainment items. Maybe you received a higher-than-usual bill on your utilities or had to make an unexpected, expensive purchase.
The first step you should take is to look into your other categories for additional money. Maybe you have extra in your gas or entertainment allowance. Batten down the hatches and live frugally for the rest of the month, and you'll have no trouble re-allocating those funds to get by.
Tap Into Your Emergency Fund
Many people struggle to define what an "emergency" is and feel reluctant to use their emergency money on something like underbudgeting. But if you are in a real crisis, it's okay to pull money out of your emergency fund until you get back on your feet.
As soon as you have made it through your financial crisis, re-up your contributions to the emergency fund. You want to pay it back as quickly as possible so you can rely on that money again in the future.
Get a Second Job or Side Hustle
If you need more money, make more money. You can add a second job or side hustle to create extra cash flow. All that money can go toward getting back on a budget. We all have skills we can put to use to earn more. Try dog walking, becoming a fitness class instructor, selling your crafts on Etsy or teaching a class for a local recreation department.
Cut Down on Your Subscriptions
How many video streaming services do you belong to? If the answer is more than one, then it's time to chop your plans. You can't watch all those services at once, so why subscribe to them all?
It's not just video streaming you can cut back on, either. Look at all your subscriptions. Maybe you signed up for a gym you never go to or get magazines you don't read.
Skip the Restaurants
Eat at home for the next few months, and you will suddenly find your budget swelling. Try some new recipes to make it fun.
Avoid Credit Card Use
One of our first instincts, when we don't have enough money to spend in our wallets and bank accounts, is to reach for our credit cards.
But by doing so, you'll be putting your future self at risk of going over budget once again. A heavy credit card bill can seriously cut into your finances and can have lasting impacts like a poor credit score.
Alert Whoever You Owe
If going over budget means you may be late making payments on your car, your rent, your utilities, or any other parties you owe money to, reach out to them as soon as possible. They may be lenient on you and extend the period in which you can pay, saving you from late fees and additional hassle. Either way, they'll appreciate the heads-up.
Return Unnecessary Items
This one is nobody's favorite option but may often save your skin in cases of going over budget. Look back at your purchases and see where you may have overspent. Did you really need those expensive shoes, that new appliance or that new addition to your collection/hobby?
If not, dig up your receipt and return the item. Budget for it in the future so you can get it back quickly, but prioritize making it through this period smoothly.
Cut Down Your Grocery Bill
One maxim many of us live by goes like this: You can never overspend at the grocery store!
And while keeping ahead of your food needs is wise, you actually can overspend at the grocery store. Sometimes quite badly. So cut back on brand-name items — we all know generic is just as good. And eliminate those unhealthy snacks from your bill.
Maybe it's time you considered cutting some carbs as well? You'll lose weight and save money at the same time!
Apply for an Online Personal Loan
Now you know how to recover quickly from breaking your budget. If you try all of these tips and still think you won't make it out of the current pay period smoothly, consider a quick and easy personal loan from Atlas Credit. Applying online or at one of our locations throughout Oklahoma and Texas is simple and can have you back on track financially in no time. Contact Atlas Credit today!