Are you having a hard time sticking to your budgeting? Making a budget can be difficult, but sticking to it can often be harder! But it’s worth powering through the pain, as having a budget is critically important to keeping your finances under control. Staying on budget will make your life less stressful and run smoother, so to help you out read my 9 Tips for Sticking to Your Budget!
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Following these tips can help you stay on budget! And they’re very easy to do!
9 Tips For Sticking To Your Budget
1. Make Your Budget Realistic
Very few people’s budgets are perfect the first time they make them. You can help yourself stick to your budget by making your budget realistic and adjusting it as needed. You really do need to take the time to sit down and go over what you’ve spent in the past month or two to get accurate numbers. You also need to be honest with yourself. Unless you are in dire straits, it makes no sense to say you will never eat out again when you’re used to eating out a couple of times a week. Better to cut back and give yourself some dining out money. Same with groceries. Try to cut back gradually to your goal amount. You have a greater chance of sticking to your budget if you set yourself up for success!
2. Write Down Your Budget
Yes, actually write it down! It’s hard to have a budget in mind when it’s literally in your mind. Take the time to write down your budget. This will help you look at it and hold yourself accountable. If your budget says you have $30 for “going out to dinner” then that’s the cap! There are lots of methods for writing down your budget. You can use online programs, a spreadsheet, or the budget binder that I use if you like pen and paper.
3. Budget “Fun” Money
Otherwise known as “Blow Money” if you’re on the Dave Ramsey plan. It’s money you can blow on whatever you want. One way to stick to your budget and not burn out while pinching pennies is to budget some discretionary spending money. Even if it’s only $5 a month! Some amount that you (and your partner) have that can be spent however you want without any questions.
4. Balance Your Checking Account
If you’re on a tight budget, a couple of small mistakes can lead to overdraft charges in your account. Which can than mess up your budget! I check my balance online every morning to see what has cleared.
5. Use Cash When Possible
There are some people who are just not cut out to use cash. However, using cash when possible can help hold you accountable when you’re on a budget. Budget experts will tell you that spending cash hurts a lot more than swiping a credit or debit card.
RELATED: How To Use The Cash Envelope System
6. Make a List of What You Need
It’s easy to go off budget when you think you need something. It’s easy to justify an unnecessary purchase. How do you think people go into debt? Saving for something you need instead of just buying it can help you stay on budget! Before you head to the store for something, make a list of what you need and only buy what’s on that list.
7. Budget for What You Really Want
What happens if you want to eat out but didn’t budget for it? BUDGET for it next time. Need new shoes? There’s no law that says you can’t have a shoe budget, just make sure you include it in your main budget! Want a new laptop? Budget for it! Sinking funds make this task easier by helping you plan ahead.
8. Shop With A Purpose
Give yourself at least a night to consider and think before making a large purchase. Look in your cart before you check out to see if those items are things that are in your budget. Make sure you shop with a purpose rather than impulse shopping.
RELATED: A Simple Trick For Making Better Buying Decisions
9. Keep Your Receipts
Keeping your receipts helps you make a realistic budget. You can use them to help track your spending, you can use them to make a grocery store price book and you of course need them to make returns (especially important if it was an impulse buy). Here are 5 Apps That Help You Organize Your Receipts.
What are some things that you do that help you stick to your budget?
You might also be interested in: 10 Simple Ways To Live On Less
Amy @ DebtGal says
I think adapting it monthly is important, too. For example, if I know one of our cars needs an oil change or some other kind of service, I make sure to plan ahead for that. Overall, the most important thing, at least for me, is not making it so limiting, that I get budget burnout. I’d rather pay my debt a bit more slowly and not be miserable, but some people definitely have more self-control than I do. (I’m not what Dave Ramsey would call a “gazelle”.)
Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It says
Number eight is a huge one for me. I get excited and start loading things in the cart (online) then let it sit. More often than not, when I go back the next day, the items are less appealing. Sometimes I forget about it altogether but those pesky websites will send you emails reminding you you left something in your cart. Lol!
Budgeting in fun money is a big one. Even when we had a tight budget, it was so helpful to have even just $10 to spend on whatever. This is one of those keys that folks who are starting out forget. They’re so zealous to get out of debt (yay!) that they forget a little margin.
I love the blow money – you need to have fun to make it worth it. I’ll just confess I have trouble with the recipt one – after I write it down in my account book I throw them away. Makes it very hard to take back returns. I’m working on it though.
Melissa French, The More With Less Mom says
You have to budget a release valve. However you budget and spend your fun money, if you feel trapped you will be more tempted to break from your budget. Thanks for posting. Hello from Thrifty Thursday.