Budgets are a lot like reading tarot cards. They’re great for understanding your own state of mind, but not-so-great for getting the clearest of reads on the future.
It makes sense. We can’t always predict the future, but we can plan for it. So, how to budget? Who is realistic with their expenses? It's tough. Being realistic means that you aren't perfect, you are human. You can't expect to follow your budget to a T every single time. If you do set yourself up with the expectation that you have to stick to a budget seamlessly, without fault, then you are just setting yourself up for failure. Who wants to set themselves up with unrealistic expectations? And ultimately - discouraging from meeting those money goals. At the same time, sometimes being realistic means accepting the hard truth — there are people who know how to stick to a budget. And then there are the rest of us.
We're all worried about how to manage, and stick to a budget. Have no fear.
Why not? Continue reading below to find out.
Why You Can Fail Your Budget and not Beat Yourself Up About It
Setting up a budget and start getting a better handle of income vs. your expenses, is really encouraging. You might find that you are eager to be smarter with your money, goal completed. But, there comes a time when anyone can slip up. You're perusing through Amazon and you come across one of those oversized unicorn pool floats. Should you buy it? Probably not. But, absolutely yes because it would just bring so much immediate joy lounging around on it in a pool on a hot summer day. So, that "Buy with 1-Click" button start pulsating, and now all the sudden you're experiencing buyers remorse and feeling like you've simply just failed your entire budgeting goals. You almost want to give up and start spending your money however you want to spend it, slipping back into your old habits and straying further and further away from your goals. It can truly turn into a vicious cycle. However, if you do fail your budget, there is no reason to beat yourself up about. It's okay to make mistakes. What's really important is that you don't give up on your budget.
Here, you'll find 5 reasons you can totally fail your budget, but still feel good about money. It's how budgeting works.
It's just a guideline
Pretend it’s a beautiful, long weekend and you’re heading out of town for a countryside road trip. You punch directions into Google Maps and go about your travels. But, as you are on your journey to your final destination, something catches your eye and your stomach. Low and behold, on the side of the road, there is a stand selling delicious, mouth-watering hot dogs.
You want to buy those hot dogs so bad but does it fit within your monthly budget? Is it okay to add a hot dog, of all things, to your list of expenses? The answer? Yes, absolutely go buy that hot dog and satisfy your cravings. It is okay to go a little over budget sometime. It is okay to bend the rules, just a little.
You have to think of budgets a little like that. Of course, you have your target for the month of how much money you can spend (i.e. 50 dollars or less on your ASOS shopping habit) but it’s not like some lightning bolt’s gonna hit you if you end up going over. Go get those hot dogs. Go get that linen jumpsuit (it has POCKETS). Just, try not to go overboard, yeah?
But it’s still kind of a plan
Just like that map, you have a plan. Your plan gets you to your final destination, but that doesn't mean you might not have a few bumps in the road along the way. You might get lost or accidentally make a wrong turn. You might get a flat tire or find yourself getting side tracked by an interesting stop along the way. But, you always get yourself back on track so you can finally reach your destination. Again, budgets are just like that. They help you set a target, whether it’s an overall one or just a target for a specific category. Setting a financial target is the first step to a great plan that will get your finances on the right track to your end goal.
And, it really feels good to have a plan, right? Kind of like… you’re an adult? Take what you can get, is what we always say, and if that means you’re setting your coffee budget to “$2.50 or less, you ‘spresso-head” then so be it.
And it helps you look back
Budgeting plans help you look forward, but how do you make the best plan? By looking back. Whenever you make a budget, it’s a chance for you to see how you’ve been doing. Successes, failures, and all. When you look at your successes, you know what to do with your budget moving forward. When you look at your failures, don't use your energy beating yourself up about what you did wrong. Instead, learn from your mistakes so that history does not repeat itself. Take it as an opportunity for growth rather than a harsh judgement of your budgeting habits. Looking back is how you learn, grow, and become successful at managing your money.
Once you get into the habit of making a budget, you’ll start to paying close attention to your spending. You won’t be so harping on the fact that you might have missed an overall target (‘cause LIFE). Instead, you’ll find yourself celebrating small wins. Like spending $1 less than you thought you would on coffee. (What? Miracles happen.)
Failure means nothing, really
You went over your monthly budget? Say what? It's the end of the world. It's time to give up. Throw in the towel! It's all over now! Just kidding. We had you worried for a second, didn't we? Okay, so you missed your monthly budget goals and maybe you even had to dip into your savings account a little bit.
We get it. It sucks to feel like you lack self-control but, listen, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember how we said you can't set yourself up with unrealistic expectations or else you will feel like a failure and want to give up? Always keep in mind that it's okay to slip up. It is okay to take your hands off the budget steering wheel every once in awhile and treat yo' self without feeling guilty.
It's all a learning process. Once you start a budget, keeping an eye on spending can become second nature. Little by little, you will conquer this whole money thing. And that means that, if you fail one week, it will be okay. Why?
There’s always next time
If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s that life can turn on a dime. Every day the world gives us a reset button for ourselves.
Start a budget and it will be the first of several tiny steps on your journey to feeling better about money. Part of that is understanding failure as part of the process. It will happen but, the sooner you can dust yourself and go at it again, the stronger (and better at money) you’ll be.
How to Budget: Setting Up You Budget
Now that you know that budgeting isn't as daunting as you initially might of thought it was, are you ready to start setting up a budget? Figuring out how to budget in the first place can be a challenge in itself. But, it doesn't have to be. Cleo makes budgeting a breeze. Instead of ranking your brain trying to figure out your debt to income ratio then seeing how all that works into your expenses is really just a headache. We don't like thinking about it, so we know that you probably don't either!
But, when you sign up with Cleo, she will do all the dirty work for you! All you have to do is tell Cleo to "Set Budget" and she will take time to configure a realistic monthly budget based on your finances. If you aren't totally on board with Cleo's budgeting suggestions, you can always make changes and adjust the budget to what works right for you. So, you aren't locked into doing whatever Cleo says, if you don't want to be!
If you need a stricter budgeting plan that follows a weekly budget instead of a monthly budget, Cleo can do that for you too! Not to mention, she will send you alerts and reminders to help keep you on track and make sure that you are reaching your goals. Basically, Cleo is your personal financial assistant who will help you reach your financial goals and become a master a sticking to your budget. With that being said, Cleo is not your average financial assistant. Yes, she will help you stay on track, but not without a little bit of sass. She might give you the side eye for spending a little too much on that iced soy caramel latte with 4 espresso shots that you buy every single day before work. Basically, she will judge you so you don't have to.
Although Cleo may be the one calling you out on your spending habits and is a constant reminder of your expenses, she just wants to help you succeed. She is the perfect tool to help you reach your financial goals.
Cleo’s new weekly budget is all that and more: manage your spending money (no bills!) by custom categories, get regular updates on how you’re doing, and start fresh every Monday. You got this.
Okay, I'm Ready to Start Budgeting with Cleo. How Does it Work?
How to budget with Cleo? It's super easy. The only requirement? You have to download Cleo in the app store and, of course, you also have to have a bank account. All you need to do is message Cleo directly in the Cleo chat interface and the rest is history! Once you message Cleo, she will first start by getting to know you and connecting your bank account. Securely log into your bank account with Cleo so she can access your finances, spending, and bills.
Once you've set up your bank account, the roasting will begin, as you start making strong financial decisions - from day one. Cleo immediately informs you on your monthly spending habits and gets you in the know on where exactly your money is going. From there, you can ask Cleo anything - from setting up a budget to helping you monitor your spendings to giving you advice, or just some good vibes when you need a pick-me-up! So many people rely on Cleo every day to help track their finances, get involved!