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Did you exceed your budget this month? So you can get back on track


A bad month is not the end of the world, in fact it can help you budget better in the future. But first you need to identify where you went wrong and what expenses you need to cut back to meet your financial goals.

By Carmen Reinicke -

CNBC + Acorns

It happens to all of us: after establishing a budget, the expenses overflow.

"It's so easy that happens," says Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner (CFP) and director of Peapack Private Wealth Management, based in New Providence, NJ.

The coronavirus pandemic, economic recession, and subsequent recovery have possibly played a role in rising spending.

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Americans are still getting used to the new reality that has brought changes in the form of restrictions, higher prices due to inflation and the resumption of some activities such as travel, dining out and live entertainment.

Here's how to get back to normal when it comes to your budget.

Give yourself a break

First of all,

financial experts advise to be kind to yourself if you have had a bad month

and use it as a reference to make a better budget in the future.

"None of us are perfect, whether it's a financial advisor or a home decorator, we all have the same challenges," Lassus says.

"Even if we know exactly what we have to do, that does not mean that we are always going to do it," he added.

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If you're new to budgeting, you probably won't get it right the first time

, said Tania Brown, CFP and trainer at SaverLife, a nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income Americans save. 

This is because

even the most detailed people tend to overlook some aspect of their life and their expenses

when they first set out to create a budget.

Assess the damage

A good rule of thumb when budgeting is to review your expenses at the end of each month to see if you've been able to stay on track.

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"Take the time to figure out what's worked this month, what's not, and what you're going to do going forward

," Brown said.

If you have overspent, analyze what happened.

Did you spend more on a category you forgot to include in your plan?

Has an emergency arisen that you weren't prepared for?

Identifying the problem, or where it has strayed, will help you make a better plan for the future.

Review your goals and then your budget

Once you have determined where you went wrong, you will need to review your strategy.

In some cases, this means changing spending categories and potentially changing some goals - or the timeline for reaching them, according to Brown.

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It could mean saving less for retirement to build emergency funds or limiting activities like eating out to get more for a down payment on a house.

If the expenses have led you to acquire a debt, you will have to include the payment of the same in a future budget.

Identifying the problem, or where it has strayed, will help you make a better plan for the future.

You may also find that in the fall and winter months you need to set aside more money for expenses like gifts and travel.

"The budget is always going to change,"

said Brown.

"The more times you do it, the more it will naturally adjust," he added.

Please try and then try again

An important part of successful budgeting is consistently sticking to your spending plan.

That means that

every month you have to review it and try to hit it again.

Sure, some people will struggle with their budget for more than one month in a row.

This may indicate that something else is going on, Brown warned.

If you have overspent, analyze what happened.

Did you spend more on a category you forgot to include in your plan?

Has an emergency arisen that you weren't prepared for? Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

You may be using the wrong budgeting tool or program.

If you haven't found a method to keep track of your spending and savings, it will be more difficult to stick to your plan, Brown said.

"It's about finding the right budget and it's a bit like finding your blue prince: you may have to kiss a lot of frogs along the way," he said, adding that if that's the problem, don't be afraid to try something. new.


other people may be dealing with deeper problems than coming up with the right plan


If you are constantly exceeding your limit due to so-called

emotional spending

and this is hampering your long-term goals or going into debt, you can consult with a financial coach or therapist.

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A financial coach can support you with the fundamentals of money management, suggested Frederick Standfield, a CFP and founder of Lifewater Wealth Management in Atlanta.

And if you have emotional problems with money, a financial therapist can help you resolve them to get you back on track.

Experts say the most important thing is

not to let a month without meeting your budget put you off the overall process.

"Recognize that you are human and that it is a work in progress," Lassus said.

"Keep trying and it will solve it," he added.

This article is part of the 

Invest in You Ready series.



 (Invest in you: Ready. Done. Grow), an initiative of CNBC and Acorns, the microinvestment app.

NBC Universal and Comcast Ventures are




Source: telemundo

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