Creating a budget is the first step to proper money management, but what’s more crucial is being able to stick to it. If you’re struggling to stay on budget and still finding yourself financially short towards the end of each month, here are five tips to help you.
1. Make your budget realistic.
When creating a budget, make sure that it’s something you can implement, and not just something that looks good on paper. It’s hard to live on a budget that’s too stringent and strict. You must learn how to be flexible. Remember that some expenses appear unexpectedly, and your budget should have enough wiggle room for when they take place.
Likewise, allot an amount for discretionary spending, so that you wouldn’t feel deprived. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. It could be a few dollars just so you can enjoy a treat every once in a while.
If you slightly swerved from your budget in a month, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just resolve to be better on the next payroll period and see if you can make adjustments to make following your budget more comfortable.
2. Shop with a list.
Shopping with a list avoids buying impulsively and going over your budget. So whether you’re buying your groceries, shopping for clothes, or going to the hardware store, bring a list with you. Not only will this habit save you bucks, but it will also save you time.
3. Keep track of your expenses every day.
Each time you purchase something or shell out cash for a particular service, make it your habit to log your expenses. This will help you determine your spending habits and identify the areas that need adjustment. When you do this, you lessen your risk of overspending and increase your opportunity to save more than what you intended.
Tracking your expenses can be done weekly, but it’s easier to stay on top of your records if you update it each day. More so, keeping receipts or using one debit card for all your expenses will allow for easier tabulation and tracking.
4. Use cash.
Though shopping with a debit card seems more convenient, buying with cash is a smart move if you want to be more conscious of how you spend. When you buy with cards, you don’t physically see the exchange of money. This results in a higher tendency of going overboard with your purchases.
5. Make it a team effort.
It’s easier to stay on budget and be reminded of your spending if you’re accountable to someone. Involve your spouse and family and create a budget together. At the end of each week, you can sit down and assess your expenses. As you do, here are some important questions you should address:
- Did anyone overspend?
- Were you able to save? Was it more than the amount you expected?
- What adjustments can you make to help you achieve your financial goals faster?
- Are there any new expenses that we should include in our regular budget?
- What areas can we cut back on?
Budgeting is key to money management and it has an influence on your overall financial plan. So, strive to create a flexible budget and stick to it. Remember that being able to stay on budget is a crucial step to having the best quality of life today and well into your retirement years.