Making a budget is only the first step to responsible finances. Next, you have to actually stick to it and for some people, this is the difficult part. Many people understand how to create a budget, but living with it day to day can be hard. Your budget should be a reflection of your life. It can be very empowering to feel in control of your life in all areas, including financially, but some people need a little extra help being able to stick to it, especially a new budget before it becomes habit. So here are five easy ways to stick to your budget.
5 Easy Ways to Stick to Your Budget
Be realistic. The first step is to be real with yourself. When you set unrealistic goals, problems arise when you can’t reach those goals. So be realistic with your facts and figures in the budget. It is certainly OK to update your budget to reflect something you actually can achieve. Just remember if you have set goals to increase savings, you will need to incorporate ways to spend less money.
Plan your meals. Food is one thing that a lot of people blow their budgets over. Eating out, getting fast food, or just not watching their supermarket budget makes it really easy to overspend on food. So use a plan for your meals and adjust it to your budget. This was one of the biggest budget savers for me was developing a meal plan every week that took prices into consideration. Every Friday I publish a meal plan for the following week.
Leave the credit cards at home. Studies have shown people spend more when they use plastic. Carry cash and just enough for the things you are going for and you won’t be tempted to spend more at the store. Debit cards with an overdraft protection are basically the same thing, so be careful.
Track your spending. You can’t know if you’re staying within your budget if you’re not keeping track of what you spend. Keep receipts and do a log of your spending so you can see what is going out vs. what is coming in. Check your spending habits at least once a quarter, and see where you can make some viable changes.
Create a spending plan. What can you spend? On what? When? You get to set the ground rules for yourself but without a plan, you’re just winging it and that leaves too much room for error.
With these five ways to stick to your budget, you can take control of your finances and your life. You can see that it can actually feel pretty good to be on a budget.
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