The word budget was coined from an old French word bougette. It means a financial plan of an individual or organization. This plan is based on their expected income and expenses. In simplified terms, a budget is an allocated amount that an individual or organization can spend.

The most common mistake that people make is waiting too long to start budgeting or not setting a budget at all. Once you take the difficult step of setting your budget, look out for these 9 common budgeting mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

1. Using Guesswork for Budgeting

Now that you have decided to budget, the first hurdle to overcome is the temptation of relying on guesswork. This is a method that is designed to fail. A foolproof budget starts with calculating the cost of your monthly living expenses.

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Allocate one hour to calculate an accurate budget that reflects your monthly finances. These will include fixed expenses like rent, mortgage, utility bills, cash withdrawals, and credit card bills. It’s important to bust common credit card myths so you do not overspend.

2. Not Involving The Family

In an endeavor to cover bigger expenses while budgeting, one tends to miss out on smaller expenses. This includes random expenses such as going out to dinner with the family, buying new toys or clothes for your children, or paying for medical expenses. To avoid unexpected costs, openly discuss the allocated budget for the month and how every family member needs to work around that budget.

3. Not Tracking Your Spending

It is essential to track where you spend each month. Every expense such as a coffee with colleagues or a shopping spree should be accounted for. Overseeing these expenditures can hamper your budget. Start small and see the results.

4. Not Saving for Emergencies

Experts recommend building an emergency fund to account for unexpected expenses that may occur, such as medical bills and unplanned car repairs. Emergency funds may range from a few weeks of take-home pay to six months of total living expenses.

5. Forgetting To Have Fun

While you must worry about paying off debts and loans as quickly as possible, it is also important to have fun. If this is something you ignore, budgeting would be tedious and you will eventually grow out of it. When planning a budget, always set aside a little money for fun activities, be it an annual family trip, a day at the museum with your children, or even a weekly ice cream parlor trip. It’s these little things that help you stay positive about your budget and motivate you towards saving more.

6. Overlooking Income Tax

Many people fail to take into account income tax deducted from one's salary or profits. It can disrupt your budget when not taken into consideration. If you are not clear about your income tax, you can hire a professional to regularly file your taxes so you’re prepared to set that money aside and you don't have to worry about unwanted expenses in the form of a penalty.

7. Not Reviewing Monthly Progress

It is important to remember that numbers on paper and money in hand might not always tally. While filling out the budget, don’t be too ambitious and go overboard with pushing more towards loan repayments or saving up more for college fees. Keep everything in check so you are not too unrealistic about your expectations. A monthly review of the budget will help you achieve this goal. You should also remember to increase your budgeting graph by creating a yearly, five-year, and ten-year plan. This will give you clarity on the amount you want to save in the future.

8. Not Saving For Retirement

Retirement might seem a little distant however it is necessary to start saving up for it right away. There are different saving retirement plans available out there. Take your time to check what suits you and your partner the best.

9. Forgetting to Update the Budget

Once the monthly reviews are in place, the next step is to update the budget as necessary. Even if you can meet all your budgeting goals, don’t forget to update your budget because emergencies can spring up at any moment and throw you off guard. It is ideal to update the budget every quarter.

Now that you know a few ways to fix budgeting mistakes, you are equipped to design a better future for yourself and your family. It’s however important to take one step at a time and not overthink the budget since that may create a hindrance in your plan.

Author's Bio: 

Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events.