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So many people are struggling today to make ends meet. National inflation rate is at a 40 year high. Families are paying THOUSANDS more per year to live the same way that they were living a year or two ago. Almost everything has increased in price. The days are crazy and many people are just trying to make their money last for a full month! This pushes many people to ask the question, why isn’t my budget working? This is why we decided to take this episode and speak to those that may be struggling to make their budget work.  You may not have this same issue, so don’t tune out just yet! What we will be talking about could save you some money even if you are not operating with a monthly deficit.


Pay attention to your expenses

  • If your budget is not working, take a good, hard, thorough look at your monthly expenses.
  • What expenses did you forget about that have continued in your monthly payments?
    • Many people get sloppy with their personal finances and they lose track of what they spend money on monthly.  It is good to review each and every expense and bill so that you do not have surprises.
    • We have seen commercials for companies that you hire to review your monthly expenses and bills and they offer to get your expenses reduced.
      • Foe example, you forgot you had Spotify and also Pandora, while also paying for Amazon Music.  One of these should be sufficient, so choosing to eliminate two saves you some money every month.
  • What expenses do you have that you could eliminate?
    • During this review, you are looking for all your recurring monthly expenses and reviewing your desire/need for each and every one of them!
    • Can you eliminate one or more of your expenses?
      • This is different from “forgetting” a recurring expense. This is just realizing that you just don’t need or want the “service” or subscription any longer and you can cut that expense totally out of your budget. For example, are you paying for a gym membership that you do not use? Are you paying for cable TV but rarely use it? 
  • What expenses do you have that you could decrease?
    • This expense is one that you know that you may need, but you can look into finding ways to do the same type of thing yet at a reduced cost.  Some examples are:
      • Insurance (auto/home) – find a broker not an agent.
      • Cell phone – go with a lower tier carrier.  If over 55, consider using a “senior’s plan” that will reduce your expenses immensely!
      • Subscription services – Consider using a free or low cost music subscription instead of the premier ones.
      • Consider reducing your home internet speed to reduce costs.
  • Pay attention to your income (may need to increase it)
    • Sometimes reducing expenses may not bring about the desired result! The desired result would be that your income is higher than your expenses. But simply reducing your expenses may not bring about the desired result of more cash at the end of the month than more bills to pay!


What can I do to increase cash flow?

  • Short Term cash flow increase
    • Sell some unneeded or unwanted items!
    • Do some “Pick-up” jobs that match your talents and/or skills
    • Deliver pizzas!!!  
    • Get a part-time job!
    • Uber/Lyft
    • DoorDash deliveries
    • Rent out a room or garage
    • Pet walking
    • Pet boarding
    • Teaching/Tutoring
    • Freelancing.
    • Cleaning houses
  • Long-term cash flow options:
    • Ask your boss for a raise!
    • Look around for another job in your field.  As of the initial airing of this episode, there are a great deal of job openings out there and many companies (more so the larger ones) are offering signing bonus and increased pay. Consider capitalizing on this by looking around for another job in your current field with greater pay and benefits!
    • Consider changing professions! Look for another job that is of interest to you. Today would be that day to look for and change professions know that there are a lot of open positions and that many companies are offering signing bonuses! 
  • Pay attention to your spending:
    • Check the cracks! Often, expenses fall through the cracks, especially when you are not focused on your expenses connected to your budget.  Get focused and take a serious look at your cash flow. Often, people have “leaking” in their budget/expenses and they end up spending more than what they originally want!

Why Isn’t My Budget Working? Pay attention to your budget busters.

These are not bad areas to spend money. You can and should be able to spend money in these categories provided that your budget works and the spending is in keeping with your long term goals. If you are struggling to make your budget work, you may find that there is more spending in some of these areas than you are aware of. By trimming spending in these categories, we may be able to help our budget work.

  • Grocery store
    • You do know that all the things that you need, the grocery store puts right at the checkout counter. These items “nickel and dime” you in your budget! Consider purchasing food that is on sale.
    • Consider purchasing food at a discount food store.
      • Aldi, Trader Joe’s etc…
    • Stick to your menu! It is SO easy to just go blind or hungry into a food store! Build a menu for the week with the sales of the circulars that you get. Only purchase what you have on your “shopping list” and/or menu and you will not overspend!
    • Pay cash at the grocery store! If you go into the grocery store with $200, you can only spend $200! If you use a credit card for your grocery store purchases, you can easily overspend and not stay within your $200 budget for that grocery store run!
    • Stop buying pre-cooked/prepared food at the food store! That increases your grocery bill almost all the time!
  • Dining out
    • It is SO much cheaper to make your own food and eat at home.
  • Clothing
    • Consider buying discount clothing at department stores (Tj Maxx, Walmart, Target etc…)
    • Consider buying clothing that is going out of season for the next year!
  • Entertainment
    • Entertainment Subscription quickly blow up your budget,
    • Going to various events and paying full price (Consider buying tickets from stubhub or places like that).
  • Vehicles
    • Buying a used vehicle and not a new one! Make it serve your purpose, not one that just shows off your monthly payments!
  • App/Movie/Entertainment purchases via phone
  • Flash sales
    • Think twice if you really need what you are purchasing!
  • Convenience Stores
    • They are expensive. You PAY A LOT for the convenience! Normal markups in these stores over other stores can be between 35 and 50%. But I know from my running a mini-market years ago, we had some items marked up almost 800%!
  • Impulse purchases!
    • Wait, wait, wait!   These purchases can break your budget VERY quickly!
  • Carrying a credit card balance.
    • This is an unneeded expense!  Get rid of that debt and stop making the owners of credit card companies very wealthy!


Stewardship Application

If you repeatedly ask yourself, “Why Isn’t My Budget Working?”, don’t worry. There is hope! We used a phrase with all of our main outline points – “pay attention.” MANY people do not pay attention to their finances. Remember Haggai 1:5 and 1:7 – Consider YOUR ways! Think and process your budget well, and stay true to spend what you allotted in your budget (barring emergency issues). This is considering your ways!


Next Steps


Episode 080: Why Isn’t My Budget Working? is property of The Stewardology Podcast, a ministry of Life Financial Group and Life Institute. You may not copy, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, or exploit any content without the expressed written permission of The Stewardology Podcast. For more information, contact us at or (800) 688-5800.

The topics discussed in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations.  Investing and investment strategies involve risk including the potential loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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