Your mother did her best to prepare you for the real world. Unfortunately, her lessons in money management may have been slightly off-base. As well-intended as these lessons were meant to be, your mother probably forgot to tell you these six details about adult budgeting.
Budgets Take Time to Work
Your mother may have led you to believe that your budget would work the first time, and all would be smooth sailing from that point on. Budgets take several months to perfect and to work as planned. If your budget fails your first month on your own, do not despair. You have another month to learn how to improve it. Work on it continuously until you can find a balance that works for you.
You’ll spend More on Groceries
Whatever your mom told you to spend on groceries should be doubled or even tripled. Young people just starting out tend to spend way more on groceries than they anticipate each month. Food prices can fluctuate, and depending on what you buy and how you coupon, you might need to make some adjustments to what you plan on spending.
Saving Can Be a Challenge
Mom probably told you that you should save five or ten percent of your paycheck each month, and it is true you should try to save. However, putting that money into a savings account can be easier said than done, especially if you are facing unexpected bills and expenses. You might need to hold off on how much you put away until your situation changes.
More Month than Money
Even if you have an online master’s degree in accounting and work with money everyday, mistakes can be made in personal budgeting. Even when you plan out how every last dime of your paycheck should be spent in a month, you may find you simply do not have enough to cover all the bills. Small expenses like eating out or grabbing a cup of coffee through the drive-thru may not make it into your initial budget at all. Plan for a little extra, and try to resist those little expenses.
Paying Minimum Balances is Tempting
Your mom may have told you to pay more than the minimum amount due on your bills to avoid interest and fees, but you may find it difficult to pay off larger balances. It’s always more tempting to have the cash on hand to spend on other luxuries. Try to be vigilant, and find a way to pay off more balances and cut back on extra ways you spend.
No Safety Net in Case of Mistakes
One of the most galling aspects of creating your own budget is the knowledge that if you want to be an independent adult, you no longer have the safety net of Mom and Dad to rescue you from your own money mistakes. You are now responsible for how you spend your own money. Don’t assume you can get help out of hole you make for yourself.
Your mom may have tried to prepare you for budgeting. Even so, these six things may have been omitted from her motherly advice to you. It takes time and practice to get smart budgeting down to a science. If you pay attention to her advice as well as some of your own, soon your budget can be a well-balanced habit.