What is a Money Regrets Budget and How Should You Use It?

shopping might lead to buyers remorse

The past is the past, and we’ve already mentioned that living there is going to make you more likely to make the same mistakes over and over again. So, at the end of the day, the best thing you can do for your budget is stop dwelling on the past and begin looking toward the future. It’s in your best interest to go ahead and make it a point to look forward and start fresh. The past happened, and you cannot change it. The future has yet to happen, so you have the power to change it as you see fit.

Do you see the distinction between the two? Just one more time – you cannot change the past, but you can create your own future. Financially speaking, this works out pretty well. That’s what a budget is for. It keeps us on track financially and it helps us to make fewer financial mistakes and more financial sense in the future. The point is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes we have a bit too much to drink at dinner and decide that a second bottle of wine is a good idea at $200 per bottle (a terrible idea in so, so many ways), or sometimes we open the mail and receive a shocking surprise that our utility bill went up $150 this month thanks in large part to newly cleared piece of property and four kids home from school for the summer.

We all makes mistakes, we all face unexpected expenses and we all wish we could change the past. We can’t. With that in mind, let’s look forward to the future. That, my friends, we have the absolute power to change at any given moment; so let’s do it. Let’s change our financial future with something called a money regrets budget. It’s a budget that you work with when you have a financial regret. Perhaps it was that expensive bottle of wine or that overage on your utility bill or that decision to buy something that you really want but it wasn’t necessarily in the budget this week. Let’s do it together.

What is a Money Regrets Budget?

It is very simple; this is a budget you utilize when you regret something. Trust me, you will know when you regret something. There is an innate feeling of regret that washes over you almost instantly when you make a financial decision that involves this type of regret. You make the purchase or decision and then you think, “Oh no….what have I done?” within seconds. When you feel that, it’s time to implement this budget. It’s the money regrets budget and it requires that you work that unexpected expense down to zero.

We will begin with your budget. It’s a word that some people rely on with vengeance and other people don’t worry about too much. I’ll admit that for many years my family and I ignored the whole budget thing. We didn’t think we needed one since we live comfortably. That was a huge mistake, and probably one of my biggest financial regrets. Everyone – everyone – needs a budget. It’s for your own good. It helps you see what you are bringing in, what your expenses are and where your money goes. This is what helps you stay on track, save accordingly and enjoy your life. We didn’t do it for a long time, and we are working on it now.

Your budget should include every single expense in your life from your mortgage to the gas you put in your car. Sure, you will always have unexpected expenses; that’s why it’s important to have a budget. I know that every single week my husband puts around 3 tanks of gas in his little sports car and I put 2 in my big SUV between running the kids to school, cheer practice, errands and the like. However, I also know that an impromptu Friday evening at Disney so the kids can see their favorite princesses means that I’ll put a third tank of gas in my car that week, so I always budget for a little extra. For me, it helps. When my budget has extra left over in it at the end of the month, I just stick that in savings.

Not that we are perfect; some months we are serious spenders and other months we spend next to nothing because we might have sick kids for a few weeks (we do have four of them so that stuff lingers) or because it’s football season and we have cheer practice every night, our kids’ games on Saturday mornings, Gator games on Saturday afternoons/evenings and by Sunday all we want is to stay home and rest. That means we spend little. There is always extra on those months. So that helps with a money regrets budget.

How does a Money Regrets Budget Work?

Again, this is a very simple concept. Let’s say that you open up the utility bill and see that your amount due this month is $150 more than usual. Since you’re not someone who throws money away, you want to rectify this situation somehow. So, you decide that you’re going to cancel your plan to go out to a movie and rent on at the Red Box instead. That means you just spent $2 instead of $50 at the movies. Now you can apply the $48 you saved to your utility overage so that your budget is now only off by $102.

Now you go to the supermarket and you work really hard to use coupons and you decide to put a few things back. So, you put that additional bottle of wine back on the shelf, that’s another $20 you can deduct from your utility overage to only be in the red $82. You use coupons and save $25 more than you thought you’d save. Now you are only $57 in the red. Now let’s say you open up the mailbox and there is a check in there for $50 from your mortgage company because you overpaid your escrow last year. Now you’re $7 in the red. So, you choose to pack lunch tomorrow instead of eating out and now you are even.

See, it’s a simple concept.

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