Creating and sticking with a budget plan is a challenge for most people. No matter your age, income level or career path, we all have financial obligations that must be fulfilled each and every month. Expenses that are required, such as mortgage payment and rent, utilities and the phone bill are fairly easy to stick to each month. These costs rarely change, and we know that they must be paid to keep our lifestyle intact each month. Most budget plans do not falter when it comes to required expenses. However, we can quickly derail a set budget plan by not paying close enough attention to desired or ancillary expenses. Here are the most common budget breakers that we can control in order to keep our budget plan on track.
The majority of individuals budget out a certain amount of their income each week or each month for food expenses. While we can easily determine how much we spend on trips to the grocery store each week or month, it is much more difficult to pinpoint what we purchase in terms of convenience food items that are not planned for. These typically include the morning trip to the coffee shop for a latte and a banana bread or a midday snack from the vending machine or deli next door. Although it may not seem like a $6 purchase will have a hugely negative effect on cash-flow, spending this amount every day or every few days adds up quickly. This cost can be controlled by budgeting out an allowance for these convenience purchases each week, and sticking to that maximum amount.
In addition to convenience purchases like coffee and snacks that are typically acquired on the go, dining out can also have a detrimental effect on an otherwise sound budget plan. Going out for dinner with friends every weekend or grabbing a quick drink after a long work day is something most of us enjoy. However, these dining experiences can take a big bite out of the budget plan each month. Instead of shying away from spending quality time with friends or family enjoying a good meal, try to limit the number of times you dine out each month. Buying groceries and cooking at home for a group of friends is another creative way to stay connected while keeping to your budget plan.
Food costs cannot be avoided altogether, but there are ways to control your spending on these expenses each month in order to stay true to your budget plan. Setting limits for yourself in terms of the amount you spend and the number of times you dine out can help you from breaking the budget each month.