top of page

Budgeting for Growth or Lean Times… Always Plan Accordingly

In tough financial times, it’s tempting to immediately run and crack the seal on your emergency budget. But before you stick your hand into that emergency fund cookie jar, I wanna encourage you to get creative and consider trimming some expenses first.

Not sure where to start? Just keep reading - I’ll show you how to break out your expenses into 5 categories that’ll help you stretch every dollar.

[FIRST] We Need Data

You can’t make a strategy without data, so the first thing we need to do is get some information together.

Grab the following items:

  • Pen and paper

  • Your credit card and bank statements

  • Your utility statements and vendor bills

  • Your phone

  • Your current budget (if you have one)

Here’s what you’re writing out:

  • All the expenses you have in a month (estimate on the high end)

  • Your monthly income (estimate on the low end)

  • The payment terms of your utility bills and vendor invoices (15 days, 90 days, etc)

  • Contact information for your vendors and financial institutions

  • IF YOU HAVE QUICKBOOKS review your Monthly Profit & Loss Report

It's important to understand your expense timeline and how your money is moving before you can start to identify the gaps and excesses.

Not sure what to do after that? Just keep reading.

[Next] Categorize Your Expenses

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to keep, what to trim and how.

Just remember to have MERCY, and follow the examples below to sort your expenses into 5 specific categories:

  • Maintain

  • Eliminate

  • Reduce

  • Control, and

  • Yourself


These are the expenses you should continue to pay in full no matter what. Total these up and set that amount as your absolute baseline of necessary expenses.

  • Rent/Mortgage

  • Utilities (negotiate payment terms if needed, but never neglect them)

  • Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance (plan for additional principle, but reduce unnecessary coverage when needed, but never eliminate)

  • Current Debt Payments (plan to pay off your small debt first. reduce when necessary, but always maintain minimum payments)


Some stuff can just be flat out eliminated, even just temporarily.

  • Evaluate Lifestyle + Habit Changes (Not driving much right now? Temporarily suspend your AAA policy)

  • Reallocate Expense Budgets into More Necessary Categories (Not eating out much right now? Put your “dining out” budget toward your groceries, date night activities or future needs and savings)

  • BUT Be Reasonable (Like diets, budgets are easier to maintain when they aren’t too severe - so don’t get rid of your Netflix subscription or self-care apps)


This takes some thought, but with $10 saved here, another $30 saved there, you create vital wiggle-room in your budget; you are literally buying yourself more time with a little bit of homework.

  • Reduce Credit Card Payments to Minimum Balance Due (just temporarily, of course)

  • Consolidate Your Tools (paying for 2 apps or subscriptions to do a job that could be done with one? Downsize)

  • Downshift from Deluxe to Basic (are you paying for a version of software with all the bells and whistles, but only need the basic package? Downgrade and save - many providers have these options)


Auto-withdrawals are convenient but can sneak up on you. Assess these functions monthly to increase your awareness from manual to automatic, prioritize more important expenses, and control the timing of the payment. (This is where your list of bill due dates will come in handy!)

  • Automatic Bill Payments

  • Automatic Savings Transfers

  • Automatic Recurring Expenses (think online subscriptions and apps on your phone)

(Tip: You can use reminders on your calendar to help you remember payment due dates)


Last, but definitely not least, make your self-care a high priority when you’re trimming your expenses and apps. Self-care is a VERY important part of getting through lean times! Just make sure that what you keep are things you are actually using right now.

  • Mental Health (meditation, online courses)

  • Physical Health (yoga, at-home fitness)

  • Entertainment (Netflix, iTunes, eBooks)



If you’d like more Information about how to stretch your budget before dipping into your emergency fund, give the following articles a skim:

Want more information about budgeting for your home and business? Just keep following Dlux Solutions over the next few weeks - we’ve got lots more budget info comin’ your way soon!

Related Posts

See All

dluxSolutions Success Plan

A little bit of well-loved data can go a long way in advancing your business. If you nurture your financial health, your business numbers...

Operating vs Non-Operating Income

I love being able to pull useful business advice from financial records and reports. However, the trick to getting good reports is making...


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page