How to Learn From Your Budgeting Mistakes

by Travis Pizel · 0 comments

Every one of us has made mistakes with our money, and we will continue to make mistakes in the future. These are indisputable facts, however the way we react to these mistakes is critical in our ability to grown and improve as human beings.

We all encounter budget failures caused by overspending. The same methodology can be applied to financial budget failures to learn from our failures. We can use these lessons grow stronger, and avoid repeating the mistake.

My Personal Mistake

For example, a person training for a marathon runs much longer one day out of each week. I’m currently training for my fifth marathon, and I choose to have my long runs on Saturday. My training has been going extremely well, and when I left my driveway at 8:30am last Saturday I had no reason to believe my 16 mile run would be any different.

Unfortunately, after only a few miles I could tell my mind wasn’t in the right place. My mental state deteriorated from there, and I actually ended up ending my run after 13 miles. My body and brain were completely exhausted.

It was at that point I had a choice to make. I could either wallow in my failure, or I could reflect on what caused that run to fail. Thinking back, I realized I had over dressed for the morning weather which was 15 degrees warmer than the days previous.

I also thought about how I didn’t go through my usual stretching routine as I was in a hurry to get started. I remembered downing a huge bottle of Gatorade six miles into the run, whereas I usually drink small amounts at a time. I had not followed my usual routine, and all of those things may have contributed to my run not going as planned.

If you find yourself in a similar situation with your budget, here are some ways to overcome a mistake before it gets too far gone.

Identify the Mistake

Ask yourself what was different during the time frame of the budget failure. If you’re successful most weeks, but every now and then you overspend, focus on what was out of the ordinary.

Here are some of common ones that have caused me trouble in the past:

  • Did you forget to meal plan causing you to eat out?
  • Did you have an unexpected car maintenance expense?
  • Did you forget about an event or celebration that used up some of your funds?
  • Did you not track spending causing you to exceed your self-imposed spending limit?

Plan For The Future

Next, identify what you’re going to do to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Whether it be forcing yourself to meal plan as part of your grocery shopping, or putting events on a big calendar on your refrigerator door take action to ensure your success.

Recovering from a budget failure, and learning from it are two very different activities. Recovering means you are able to cut spending in another area to make your budget whole again. That’s great, but without identifying the root cause of why, and how, you broke your budget, you are doomed to repeat the same mistake.

What was your last budget mistake? Did you take the time to analyze it and take action to avoid repeating it?

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