What To Do When You Fall Off The Wagon

What To Do When You Fall Off The Wagon On Your Personal Finance Journey

What to do when you fall off the wagon?

We have all been there, haven’t we? Whether it be a weight loss or fitness program, an attempt to build a new habit, or get rid of an old one or a personal finance journey. We have all slipped up at some stage. We have all broken a promise to ourselves and failed to keep to the plan.

What might cause you to backslide?

Falling off the wagon on your personal finance journey can happen so easily with the swipe of a card or the click of a button. There are many reasons that might cause someone to regress after creating a new budget or wealth plan. Have you considered that your plan might be too restrictive or unrealistic? Are you bored with your plan because there’s not enough room for fun? Are you rebelling because of a lack of flexibility or spontaneity? Or did an unexpected expense or emergency completely throw you off course? There’s no need to blame or shame yourself over this. What is important is to figure out the root cause and learn how to move on.

These are the steps to take after you’ve fallen off the wagon on your personal finance journey:

Step 1 – Assess the damage

The first thing to do is to assess the damage. Crunch the numbers and figure out how bad (or not as the case might be) things are. How much debt did you rack up? How much did you overspend? If you dipped into your savings, how much did you withdraw? 

Step 2 – Figure out what happened

Why did you regress? Ask yourself some of the questions I posed in paragraph two. Figure out what went wrong. Was this something unavoidable like an emergency? Or was this a rebellion? Identify any emerging patterns or themes in your behavior

Side note: Emergencies don’t have to de-rail your money plan entirely. To find out more read my articles on financial emergency preparedness:

Step 3 – Have a chat with yourself

About now is the time to have a strong word with yourself. Remind yourself about your ‘why’ and the bigger picture. Why is it you have set yourself these goals? And why is it you want to execute this plan? Is it so you can retire with dignity? Is it so your kids can go to college and get an education debt-free? Remember your why.

Step 4 – Make a corrective plan for the short term

Consider what steps you should take immediately to correct the situation. Do you need to return some items you bought or sell them? Should you put your credit card in the freezer? Do you need to remove your card details from your computer or mobile phone? Review your budget and remove some non-essential spending from your next paycheck to catch up on yourself. Make a meal plan for the next week using what you already have in your kitchen. Start a week-long spending freeze challenge.

Step 5 – Make a corrective plan for the long term

Knowing what you now know about why you fell off the wagon in the first plan, re-write your plan for yourself with some adjustments. Maybe your budget is too tight and you actually need to review and extend your timelines by 6 months or a year to allow a little extra wiggle room. Or maybe you have cut as much as you can and it’s really an income problem you have. Can you take a second job or start a side hustle or work some overtime to increase your income to reach your goal?

Step 6 – Give yourself grace

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to everyone and there’s always time for a second chance.

Step 7 – Give yourself room for a little fun

If you are feeling burnt out, make a plan to have some fun. So long as it is not something that will make you regress further from your plan or your goals. I have written an article on ‘Ways to Treat Yourself Without Over-Spending’, read it here.

So there you have it 7 steps to take when you fall off the wagon on your personal finance journey. Have you signed up for my email list yet? If you sign up you get my free 16 meal planning guide. It includes step by step instructions, tonnes of tips, and hacks to save you money and two free printables. Click here and sign up using the subscription form on the right-hand side.

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