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  • Emily Friday

6 Reasons Why Your Budget Keeps Failing

When it comes to your budget, you’ll rarely get it right first try. But if you’re failing to stick to your budget time and time again, it may be time to check in with yourself to figure out WHY - and amend your budget accordingly!

Here are 6 reasons why your budget likely isn’t working - and what you can do to fix it:

1) You're living beyond your means

'Living beyond your means' means that you are spending more money than you make. Whilst that may seem impossible, (e.g. how can somebody spend money they don’t have?) credit cards, overdrafts and Buy Now Pay Later schemes have all but made this possible - and far too tempting!


If possible, try and find ways to cut back your spending. It’s often easier to increase your income to keep up with your spending habits, e.g. through a side hustle, but we understand this isn't a viable option for everyone.

Could you negotiate your phone bill or car insurance renewal? How about switching to a cheaper energy provider? Whilst these things alone may not solve the entire problem, every little adds up and your bank account will definitely thank you.

Spending more than you earn is a little similar to regularly consuming more calories than you’re burning - both can have dire consequences on our health and stress!

2) You rarely check in with your budget

Are you checking in with your budget on a regular basis?

If not, you may find that it simply isn’t working. There could be new expenses in your life that you haven’t yet accounted for, or maybe the budgeting method that worked for you as a single person in your twenties isn’t working now that you’re starting a family or switching careers.


Schedule regular budget check-ins to your diary at least once a week and, ideally, work out your budget for the month before payday comes around.

You can also keep track of your spending with an app like ImageNPay (or a good old spreadsheet!) to make sure you’re not getting carried away throughout the month.

3) Your budget is too strict

You may think that making your budget as strict as possible and challenging yourself to 14 no-spend days is necessary in order to make your budget work. However, sometimes this has the opposite effect!

Similar to a strict diet that doesn’t allow you to indulge in any treats and leaves you starving - it backfires. You end up over-indulging as a result of not being able to stick to the diet/budget and low and behold, you’re back where you started!


If zero-based budgeting - or strict budgeting in general - isn’t working, allocate yourself some ‘wiggle room’ in your budget. You’ll want to set aside some extra money that you can use to treat yourself or set up a monthly buffer to protect yourself from unexpected costs e.g. inflation.

Read more: How to Manage Money Guilt after Failing to Stick your Budget

4) Your budget isn’t strict enough

On the flip side, your budget can also fail if it isn’t strict enough!

You might start out the month with the best of intentions to stick to your budget, but find yourself getting sloppy by the middle of the month. Or, you don’t have clearly defined goals and are struggling to stay motivated.


Be realistic with your budget - if you know that you’re likely to order takeout on Friday nights, account for that in your budget and make sure you’re providing yourself with enough money to cover these expenses.

You’ll also want to give your budget a purpose. What are you saving up for? What’s the end goal? Is it financial freedom to quit your 9-5 and travel the world or create generational wealth to pass down to your children?

Keep your goals in mind to help you stick to your budget and stay disciplined!

5) You give up too easy

Do you give up at the first sign of struggle because you feel like you can’t say no to friends when they ask you out to an expensive lunch?

Do you slip up one week and then, like a snowball, continue to overspend because you’ve already failed?

If this sounds like you, your mindset is most likely the problem when it comes to your budget!


First of all, mistakes are common - especially when it comes to your first budget. So forgive yourself for any setbacks!

Going forward, make a plan to adjust your budget at the beginning of every month to account for any extra expenses you might need, e.g. outings with friends (see point 2!). And if you slip up once, remember it’s not the end of the world - practice makes perfect!

6) You aren’t removing temptations from your life

If you’re finding it difficult to stick to your budget every month, why not make it easier on yourself by removing temptations from your life?

Email newsletters, app notifications, social media ads, and in-store sales can be all too tempting - it’s no wonder our budgets fail after being exposed to these triggers constantly!


Make it easier for yourself to stick to your budget by unsubscribing from email newsletters and disabling notifications from shopping apps. Be firm and tell your friends when something isn’t in your budget, and try to wait at least 48 hours before making any impulse purchases.


If you struggle to stick to your budget, the ImageNPay app can help.

With your very own digital prepaid card, you can top up with an allowance you choose so that you never risk going over budget.

Tap the button below to find out more about the benefits of joining ImageNPay and download FREE on the App Store or Google Play!


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