If there’s one thing we talk about a lot here on our blog it’s how to create, and then stick to, a budget. The fact is, many consumers find it difficult to do both but it’s one of the best ways to set yourself up for financial success. With that in mind, below are a number of excellent Tips that will help you stick to your budget and stay financially healthy. Enjoy.
Tip 1: No matter what you’re shopping for, shop with a list.
A lot of people use a shopping list when they go grocery shopping, but how about for gasoline, household items or even laundry services? While that might sound a little silly, the fact is that having a list will make you much more aware of the actual amount of money that you’re spending, help you prioritize your purchases and thus better manage your cash flow. Going clothes shopping, to the hardware store or even to the local 7-Eleven with a list will help you to lower temptation to buy stuff you don’t actually need.
Tip 2: Download (and use) a Budgeting App for your smart phone.
There are so many budgeting apps these days that one of the biggest problems is simply deciding which one to use. One of the best is called Mint but there are plenty of others and all of them will help you to keep track of your budget goals, stay aware of your spending and monitor your budget quite easily.
Tip 3: Log your expenses every single day.
Many people make the mistake of waiting until the end of the week, or the month, to tabulate their expenses. If you can get into the habit of logging them every day however, you’ll be much more aware of your daily spending habits and be able to make the positive changes necessary to stick to your budget. If that sounds too tedious, you can also use the same debit or credit card every day and track your activity online.
Tip 4: Tell someone about your financial goals.
Having someone that will “hold you accountable” to the goals that you set, budget-wise, is a great way to make sure that you actually stick to them. It could be a friend, family member or, even better, a financial advisor that you talk with or send an email to once a week for feedback and to discuss any questions or problems you might be having.
Tip 5: Shop with cash if possible.
While using a credit or debit card is convenient, that convenience can be very detrimental to your budget because it makes it harder to actually “see” what you’re spending. If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget, you might consider withdrawing a specific amount of cash at the beginning of the week and doing your best to spend only that amount, and nothing more, by week’s end. If anything, it will help you to realize just how much you spend every week as you watch it fly out of your wallet or purse.
Tip 6: Create a Reward System for yourself.
There’s nothing like a reward to help a person sticks to something, and a reward for sticking to your financial goals is the same. Figure out a way to reward yourself without spending money (or spending as little as possible) and soon you’ll find that the positive reward helps make sticking to your budget a lot easier.
The tips above should, if you actually use them, will definitely help you to stick to your budget and reach your financial goals. If you have any questions about them, or about personal finance in general, please let us know and we’ll get back to you with options and answers ASAP.