Top 5 Budget Busters

Top 5 Budget Busters

In everyone’s financial life, there are a few things they can count on. One of which is that they will experience some type of budget buster. Some are more serious than others, but most of them can be prevented, or at least the damage can be minimized.

Budget Busters:


The Problem: Whether you rent or own, monthly housing payments are normally a large part of most people’s budgets. The problem comes when it is too large a part. If your housing costs more than 40% of your current budget, you could be in for some tough times.

The Solution: While this may seem drastic, you may have to consider a smaller monthly payment, even if that means moving into a smaller home, a smaller apartment, or perhaps moving a little further from the city. Everyone wants a nice home, but not if you have to give up everything else in life you enjoy.

Car Payment

The Problem: Aside from housing, car payments are one of the most expensive monthly payments families have. Add in car insurance and some regular maintenance, and we’re talking about some serious money. Obviously the more you pay for your housing the less you have for your car.

The Solution: If you have serious financial problems and you have a car loan, you may want to consider downgrading your car. If you bought a $25,000 convertible with payments of $400 per month, perhaps a reasonable lower end sporty car that’s two or three years old for $15,000 and monthly payments of $275 would fit much easier into your budget. Maybe then you can actually afford to buy the gas!


The Problem: Everyone needs a little break now and then. There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation. Just make sure you know how much you have to spend and don’t go over that amount.

The Solution: There is nothing worse than taking a needed vacation to relax, only to get stressed about spending money you don’t have. Check out these tips for saving money for a vacation


The Problem: Guess what? Christmas comes every year at the same time, yet every year people wonder how they spent so much money. They can’t believe all the gifts and decorations they buy (we’ve all been there).

The Solution: Make a list of all the people you buy gifts for, including co-workers, friends, parents, children, etc. Set a reasonable amount for each person. You may have to either adjust your budget or reduce the amount you will spend on each person. Better yet, plan to make gifts (example: bake cookies) or have a gift exchange so everyone isn’t buying for everyone else. Most people are also reasonable enough to set limits (the whole family can agree not spend more than a certain dollar amount). Now you are prepared, so just stick to your plan (or close to it).


The Problem: Birthday gifts, new tires, license renewals…these are all expected emergencies. We know they are going to happen, and we mostly know when and how often, so we should include these costs into our budget. On the other hand, what do we do about unexpected emergencies? We have to prepare for them too.

The Solution: Check out our top 5 tips to save $1,000 in 2 hours. Using these tips you will quickly be able to build up your emergency fund. Trust me, all of the above will happen to most people at some point in their lives. If you are prepared, you will live a more relaxed life.

The Solution to Your Budget Busters

If you really want to get a solid plan in place to solve the budget buster issues, then check out our post that explains how to S.P.E.N.D. your way to success! What are some of the budget busters you have experienced and how did you handle it? Tell us in the comments section below.

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The three authors, Bill Pratt, Mark C. Weitzel, and Len Rhodes, are industry leaders in personal financial education. Together, they have a combined 75 years of experience in banking, economics, and entrepreneurship. Now, they teach thousands of students personal finance concepts and decision making skills, author textbooks and public press books on personal finance, and help schools develop innovative personal finance literacy programs. Recently, they were instrumental in developing a personal financial management certification program for leaders in higher education. The other books in The Money Professor series include The Graduate’s Guide to Life and Money and Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know about Credit, Debt & Ca$h. Their books, lectures, and programs give students, parents, and educators the tools and knowledge to make good financial decisions all their lives.

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