Nobody really likes to budget, let’s be honest. Most of us would love to be able to just spend money on whatever we want or need without having to think about the consequences. Unfortunately, for most of us it simply doesn’t work that way. Most of us need to watch what we spend in order to make sure that, at the end of the month, we have enough to pay all of our “regular” bills.
With that in mind these next 3 Tips will help make your budgeting a lot easier and, while it won’t make it easy to walk away from that new pair of jeans that you’ve been wanting, it will certainly make it easier to pay your bills on time and avoid late fees and penalties. Enjoy.
Tip 1: Understand your Spending Habits. The easiest way to make sure that you don’t overspend and break your budget is to know what type of habits that you have and, where necessary, break those habits instead of your typical family budget. The best way to do this is to track your spending for at least a month and, better yet, for 3 months, in order to get a more accurate idea of what your spending habits are and determine exactly where you are overspending. In some cases you might not need to actually see these numbers in order to know where you are wasting money but it is certainly helpful.
Tip 2: Look everywhere for saving opportunities. Once you’ve identified the areas where you overspend you can start searching for ways to either lower those expenses for cut them out completely. For example, if you find that you spend $300 a month on Starbucks coffee then the easiest way to reduce the cost is simply to reduce the amount of times a week that you get yourself that $8. double mocha cappuccino. If a huge part of your budget is being used on new clothes or shoes, either look for sales on these items or stop going to stores as frequently as you are. There is no chance of wasting money on a new pair of shoes if you don’t go into a shoe store. (If you purchase shoes online, you can cut down on that as well to cut down on your shoe spending habit.)
Tip 3: Make a game out of saving money. We all love games and if you can make a game out of saving money you should be able to greatly cut down on your expenses and stay within budget. Some people love to challenge themselves to find absolutely awesome deals and, to that end, visit discount stores and thrift shops in order to find them. You can challenge your friends or relatives to see who can get the best deal on specific items or, even better, who can save the most money in a month. Get your kids involved at home by challenging them to see how much lower you can make your electric or water bill go by turning off lights and taking shorter showers. (Giving them a reward for doing this will go far towards making it happen.)
Wherever your problem area happens to be, you simply need to get into a habit of spending less or doing whatever needs to be done in order to stay on track with your budget. Set goals for yourself, refer to them often and before long you’ll see that your spending habits have changed and you’re going over budget less frequently.