10 of The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

10 of The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

10 of The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

10 of The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

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The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes To Avoid
The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes To Avoid
The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes To Avoid
The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes To Avoid

You just got paid, great! Where’s that money going? Now while some have their budgets down to the tee, others might not have a full grip of their finances. 

Creating budgets helps individuals make better decisions with their money. It’s a key part of personal finances and even the most financially savvy people make mistakes when it comes to managing their budgets.

However, that can all be fixed with the right mindset and knowledge. Let’s take a look at ten of the most common budgeting mistakes to avoid and offer tips to help you stay on track and achieve your financial goals.

1. Financial Goals Aren't Clear

It may seem like a no-brainer but if you don’t have specific and achievable goals in mind, you’ll never be able to budget for the end goal. The more detailed a plan you can make with your goals in mind, whether short term or long, the better off you’ll be when you make that budget.

Whether it’s saving to paying off debt, putting a down payment on a house, or getting a car, your financial goals should be clear so you know exactly what you’re working towards. Without a clear goal, it can be easy to lose that motivation and make unwise decisions with your money.

girl thinking about financial goals

You just got paid, great! Where’s that money going? Now while some have their budgets down to the tee, others might not have a full grip of their finances. 

Creating budgets helps individuals make better decisions with their money. It’s a key part of personal finances and even the most financially savvy people make mistakes when it comes to managing their budgets.

However, that can all be fixed with the right mindset and knowledge. Let’s take a look at ten of the most common budgeting mistakes to avoid and offer tips to help you stay on track and achieve your financial goals.

1. Financial Goals Aren't Clear

It may seem like a no-brainer but if you don’t have specific and achievable goals in mind, you’ll never be able to budget for the end goal. The more detailed a plan you can make with your goals in mind, whether short term or long, the better off you’ll be when you make that budget.

Whether it’s saving to paying off debt, putting a down payment on a house, or getting a car, your financial goals should be clear so you know exactly what you’re working towards. Without a clear goal, it can be easy to lose that motivation and make unwise decisions with your money.

girl thinking about financial goals

2. Not Tracking Expenses

Another common budget mistake you should avoid is not tracking your expenses. In order to create a budget that’s going to actually work, you need to track all of your expenses. This means tracking all of your expenses, including fixed costs like rent and utilities, as well as variable expenses like groceries and entertainment.

There are numerous ways you can keep track of your expenses. Some people enjoy spreadsheets, while others go the budgeting app route. Certain budgeting apps, like Hiatus, allow you to create custom budgets based on your spending and categorize your expenses in different categories. Whichever method works best for you, it’s key to stay consistent.

If you feel like you can’t create your own budgets there are plenty of budget strategies out there to help guide you.

2. Not Tracking Expenses

Another common budget mistake you should avoid is not tracking your expenses. In order to create a budget that’s going to actually work, you need to track all of your expenses. This means tracking all of your expenses, including fixed costs like rent and utilities, as well as variable expenses like groceries and entertainment.

There are numerous ways you can keep track of your expenses. Some people enjoy spreadsheets, while others go the budgeting app route. Certain budgeting apps, like Hiatus, allow you to create custom budgets based on your spending and categorize your expenses in different categories. Whichever method works best for you, it’s key to stay consistent.

If you feel like you can’t create your own budgets there are plenty of budget strategies out there to help guide you.

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3. Overspending

Overspending can really derail your financial goals. Being mindful of your spending habits and creating realistic budgets to stick to are fundamental. It can be extremely easy to get caught up in the moment and make an impulse purchase, but doing so on a continuous basis can lead to debt, and stop any progress towards achieving your financial goals.

In 2022, the average household in America spent $6,080 per month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. With the right budgeting mindset and by not overspending, this total could probably be trimmed down by a few hundred dollars.

One way to avoid overspending is to plan your purchases in advance and not make any impulsive purchases. Creating shopping lists before going to the store is one way to prioritize your needs.

Overspending

4. Not Planning For Unexpected Expenses

It’s unfortunate to say but emergencies are a part of life. So not taking this into account when making your budget is another mistake people tend to make.

Things like car repairs, medical bills, and even quick fixes to your house can come about at any time. By not taking these things into consideration you can find yourself in big trouble.

To avoid this mistake, it’s important to build an emergency fund or set aside money for these expenses as part of your budget. Both the  50/30/20 budget as well as the 70/20/10 budget rule take emergency funds into the budget.

Ideally these funds should have at least three to six months worth of living costs. This will help you avoid having to use credit cards or even taking out a loan to cover these costs and stay on track with your financial goals.

medical expenses

5. Not Adjusting Budgets As Circumstances Change

Life is constantly changing so it’s important to be flexible with your budget. You should review your personal budget on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed to reflect changes in your income, expenses, and financial goals. 

It’s never a bad thing to make your budget smaller if that’s what the situation calls for. Failing to adjust your budget can lead to problems down the road and make it difficult to reach your financial goals.

Adjusting budget

6. Thinking That Budgeting Is Easy

Another common budgeting mistake you should avoid is to think that budgeting is an easy feat. By no means is budgeting a “Start it today, tomorrow it’s solved”. There will be times where you’ll have the splurge to make a purchase. If you have all your necessary expenses paid off and there’s extra money, then by all means. There will be some trial and error to see how you can make the most out of your money while still being able to enjoy yourself and get everything paid for.

Thinking That Budgeting Is Easy

7. Underestimating Expenses

Another common budgeting mistake you want to avoid is only accounting for things you pay for on a monthly basis. Most people think “okay, cell phone bill, rent, insurance quotes, gym membership. I’m good.”  But, that’s where we go wrong. 

It's important to account for all of your expenses. This includes both regular and occasional expenses, such as holiday/birthday gifts or annual insurance premiums. Underestimating expenses can lead to overspending and falling behind on your budget.

gym membership expense

8. Relying Too Much On Credit

While it can be tempting to use credit to make ends meet, it's important to be cautious. Credit card debt can quickly add up, especially if you're only making minimum payments. Ignoring debt payments can have serious consequences. Whether it’s your second credit card, a joint credit card you have, or student loans, failing to make payments can lead to fees, penalties and will negatively affect your credit score. 

A quick fix for this is to prioritize debt payments and make them a part of your budget. Putting aside a certain amount of money each month towards debt payments will help you stay on track and avoid penalties or fees. It's also important to keep in mind the interest rates on your debts. Debts with a higher interest rate should be paid off first followed by ones with lower rates. This strategy will allow you to attack this common budgeting mistake and pay off your credit much quicker.

credit card debt

9. Not Prioritizing Expenses

When creating a budget, it's important to know what’s a necessary expense and discretionary expense. Necessary expenses are those that are essential, such as housing, utilities, and food. Discretionary expenses are those that aren’t, such as entertainment and dining out.

If you don’t prioritize expenses, it can be easy to overspend on discretionary expenses, leaving you with little to no money left for necessary expenses. One way to avoid this mistake is to separate your expenses. Start with the most important expenses (rent/mortgage, groceries) at the top and then work your way down. 

It’s also beneficial to cut back on your non-prioritized expenses. For example, if you're spending too much money on subscription services or unnecessary purchases, consider cutting back or eliminating these expenses altogether. The Hiatus app will allow you to see all your subscriptions in one place and will cancel them for you in just a few taps. This will free up more money for your essential expenses and help you stay on track with your budget.

prioritizing expenses

10. Not Accounting For Irregular Income

For those who have irregular income, it can be challenging to create a budget. Freelancers and other professions may bring in triple their normal income one month and only a quarter of it the next month. It's important to take this into consideration and to prepare yourself for those months where your work schedule is lighter.

Freelancers

Take Steps To Improve Your Finances

Budgeting mistakes can prevent you from achieving your financial goals. By avoiding these common mistakes you can take control of your finances and be on your way to achieving long-term financial success. Remember to stay disciplined, patient, and committed to your plan. Before you know it, you'll know how to make 10k a month.

3. Overspending

Overspending can really derail your financial goals. Being mindful of your spending habits and creating realistic budgets to stick to are fundamental. It can be extremely easy to get caught up in the moment and make an impulse purchase, but doing so on a continuous basis can lead to debt, and stop any progress towards achieving your financial goals.

In 2022, the average household in America spent $6,080 per month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. With the right budgeting mindset and by not overspending, this total could probably be trimmed down by a few hundred dollars.

One way to avoid overspending is to plan your purchases in advance and not make any impulsive purchases. Creating shopping lists before going to the store is one way to prioritize your needs.

Overspending

4. Not Planning For Unexpected Expenses

It’s unfortunate to say but emergencies are a part of life. So not taking this into account when making your budget is another mistake people tend to make.

Things like car repairs, medical bills, and even quick fixes to your house can come about at any time. By not taking these things into consideration you can find yourself in big trouble.

To avoid this mistake, it’s important to build an emergency fund or set aside money for these expenses as part of your budget. Both the  50/30/20 budget as well as the 70/20/10 budget rule take emergency funds into the budget.

Ideally these funds should have at least three to six months worth of living costs. This will help you avoid having to use credit cards or even taking out a loan to cover these costs and stay on track with your financial goals.

medical expenses

5. Not Adjusting Budgets As Circumstances Change

Life is constantly changing so it’s important to be flexible with your budget. You should review your personal budget on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed to reflect changes in your income, expenses, and financial goals. 

It’s never a bad thing to make your budget smaller if that’s what the situation calls for. Failing to adjust your budget can lead to problems down the road and make it difficult to reach your financial goals.

Adjusting budget

6. Thinking That Budgeting Is Easy

Another common budgeting mistake you should avoid is to think that budgeting is an easy feat. By no means is budgeting a “Start it today, tomorrow it’s solved”. There will be times where you’ll have the splurge to make a purchase. If you have all your necessary expenses paid off and there’s extra money, then by all means. There will be some trial and error to see how you can make the most out of your money while still being able to enjoy yourself and get everything paid for.

Thinking That Budgeting Is Easy

7. Underestimating Expenses

Another common budgeting mistake you want to avoid is only accounting for things you pay for on a monthly basis. Most people think “okay, cell phone bill, rent, insurance quotes, gym membership. I’m good.”  But, that’s where we go wrong. 

It's important to account for all of your expenses. This includes both regular and occasional expenses, such as holiday/birthday gifts or annual insurance premiums. Underestimating expenses can lead to overspending and falling behind on your budget.

gym membership expense

8. Relying Too Much On Credit

While it can be tempting to use credit to make ends meet, it's important to be cautious. Credit card debt can quickly add up, especially if you're only making minimum payments. Ignoring debt payments can have serious consequences. Whether it’s your second credit card, a joint credit card you have, or student loans, failing to make payments can lead to fees, penalties and will negatively affect your credit score. 

A quick fix for this is to prioritize debt payments and make them a part of your budget. Putting aside a certain amount of money each month towards debt payments will help you stay on track and avoid penalties or fees. It's also important to keep in mind the interest rates on your debts. Debts with a higher interest rate should be paid off first followed by ones with lower rates. This strategy will allow you to attack this common budgeting mistake and pay off your credit much quicker.

credit card debt

9. Not Prioritizing Expenses

When creating a budget, it's important to know what’s a necessary expense and discretionary expense. Necessary expenses are those that are essential, such as housing, utilities, and food. Discretionary expenses are those that aren’t, such as entertainment and dining out.

If you don’t prioritize expenses, it can be easy to overspend on discretionary expenses, leaving you with little to no money left for necessary expenses. One way to avoid this mistake is to separate your expenses. Start with the most important expenses (rent/mortgage, groceries) at the top and then work your way down. 

It’s also beneficial to cut back on your non-prioritized expenses. For example, if you're spending too much money on subscription services or unnecessary purchases, consider cutting back or eliminating these expenses altogether. The Hiatus app will allow you to see all your subscriptions in one place and will cancel them for you in just a few taps. This will free up more money for your essential expenses and help you stay on track with your budget.

prioritizing expenses

10. Not Accounting For Irregular Income

For those who have irregular income, it can be challenging to create a budget. Freelancers and other professions may bring in triple their normal income one month and only a quarter of it the next month. It's important to take this into consideration and to prepare yourself for those months where your work schedule is lighter.

Freelancers

Take Steps To Improve Your Finances

Budgeting mistakes can prevent you from achieving your financial goals. By avoiding these common mistakes you can take control of your finances and be on your way to achieving long-term financial success. Remember to stay disciplined, patient, and committed to your plan. Before you know it, you'll know how to make 10k a month.

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Ready to save money?

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Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

© 2024 Hiatus, Inc. All rights reserved

© 2024 Hiatus, Inc. All rights reserved

Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

App

Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

© 2024 Hiatus, Inc. All rights reserved

© 2024 Hiatus, Inc. All rights reserved

Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

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