5 Signs That You're Too Obsessed With Your Budget
There is no doubt that budgeting can get you out of a financial hole. It can also lead you to employ better financial habits — a wonderful thing! But can you actually overdo it? Well, like with anything else, you can go overboard if you aren’t careful. And you can inadvertently end up having a software product or budgeting tool rule your life.
Here are five ways to find out if you are getting too obsessed with your monthly budget.
1. You consult your budget before spending money on the small things. While the little things count, it may not be necessary to have your budget govern your decision to make a purchase at the dollar store. We all know that taking care of the small change will make the dollars add up faster when it comes to saving money. But we can certainly go too far with this. Provided you stick to your budget most of the time, it won’t make a difference if you spend a few extra cents here and there on occasion.
2. You cannot spend anything — not even a red cent — without panicking that you’ll blow your budget. But we all need to have some fun in our lives! If you've gotten to the stage where you're budgeting every single cent and still panicking about every unprepared eventuality, then you need to take a step back.
3. You don’t allow yourself to have any fun money. Remember fun money? Yes we all need a bit of this every now and again. Work out what your budget will allow you and make sure you get a few dollars for yourself every week. How's this for a compromise: Set up a specific category in your budget planner that addresses this play money, then keep to its limits. This is the best way to make sure you have some cash to spend without worrying about whether or not you can afford things.
4. You are saving as much as you can without knowing what you're saving for. Does this sound familiar? Saving is a good thing, especially if you have specific goals you're aiming for. For example, are you planning to save three months' worth of your salary so you can have a cushion to fall back on? Certainly, saving for a rainy day is highly recommended, provided you've got a strategy that involves addressing your longer term goals as well.
5. Thinking about your budget keeps you awake at night. Unfortunately, there are people who may find themselves tossing and turning at night, worrying about their spending. When you get to this point, it's time to take a chill pill. Everything should be done in moderation, even helpful activities such as keeping an eye on your expenditures. If you're having trouble reconciling your budget with your spending, then determine if your plans are too restrictive or whether you're truly under the clutches of a spending problem. Seek support where you need it (especially if you realize you've got a debt problem) and work out small successes before tackling bigger challenges.
Nobody wants to be a miser. Or a tightwad. Instead, aim to be frugal as someone who knows how to find good value for their money, or as someone who knows how to make those dollars stretch without going overboard. If you recognize any of the above signs in yourself, it's time to think about dialing things back. Just like everything else in personal finance, moderation is key! Make sure you don’t fall into the habit of letting your budget get the better of you.