There Is No Perfect Month

Give yourself some wiggle room when budgeting - because there is no perfect month

Set out to make a budget, and you’ll quickly discover that there’s no such thing as a perfect month. Instead, there are usually unplanned expenses galore — at least at first.

Your kid comes home and needs $20 for a field trip, or your car starts making a funny noise. Then next month, the cat exhibits mysterious symptoms and requires a trip to the vet. The month after that, there’s a series of shower and wedding gifts.

In short, there’s always something

Every month, it feels like the “extra” money that you “should” have had leftover just disappears. Or worse, you find yourself borrowing money and getting deeper in the hole because you didn’t have much extra to begin with.

That’s often the point where people throw up their hands and give up.

But if you keep at it, you’ll find that budgeting using a spending plan starts to smooth out all those unexpected bumps.

Especially if you don’t aim for perfection — because it’s never gonna happen.

If you have “one of those months”, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you suck at budgeting. It also doesn’t mean that you should write it off as something abnormal, and figure that you’ll just try again the following month.

Less than perfect months ARE normal

So take them as an opportunity to learn, and adjust for future months. For example, if you’re caught without funds for a car repair, make a note to start a car repair fund — and then do it, even if it means you need to make some extra money somewhere or cut back in other areas. If you figure out that you typically spend $300 on birthday gifts through the course of the year, build that into your budget as well by starting a gift fund that you put 25 bucks a month into.

Organize your spending plan so that the things that are most important to you get funded first. Things like somewhere to live, food, and basic transportation should top the list. Prioritize, and when you do have extra money, save some of it to smooth out those less-than-perfect months.

Give yourself some wiggle room

Budgets should have some wiggle room in them anyway. They shouldn’t confine and restrict you.

Instead, they should help you do the things you want to do — whether that involves getting your finances under control for the first time ever, or saving up to buy the latest expensive gadget as a treat.


  • Thomas J. Dowell-Howko

    Budgeting is a very difficult skill to learn and apply. It also seems to be something I am okay with avoiding and that is a difficult fiscal transition. Thank you for the reassuring article and happy budgeting!

  • Lisa

    Great Start to teaching people and keep them motivated

  • monica northington

    isince working with a budget there have been plenty of tight months especially
    with the holidays approaching and now i have been called to help host a babay shower the day after black friday. so with the extra money that i have this month I am adding more money to savings and paying off as much debt as i can and curbing any shopping. My goal to buy a flat screen on black friday and i know i will do it

  • Great article , simple tips we can all use starting today .