Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to take control over your financial life.
In fact, having a budget is really the only way to ensure your outflow doesn’t exceed your income. It also helps you plan for the future and cope with unexpected expenses.
Budgets can sometimes be hard to follow. If you are having trouble sticking to your budget, here’s what to do.
1. Make sure your budget is reasonable.
There’s no better way to sabotage the budget-making process than by setting unrealistic targets.
Be honest with yourself about where you’ve slipped and carefully review those items. It may be you need to adjust your budget to fit some changes in priorities or habits.
2. Find consistency.
As with most things, the more consistent you are, the easier it will become. Staying within your budget on a consistent basis will make it easier over time.
Don’t get discouraged if you slip. Just begin the process again from where you are and stick with it.
3. Seek support.
Seek support from others who follow a budget. You can find support through friends, family, online forums or anywhere that works for you.
Having a strong support system allows you to ask for help when needed and remain accountable.
4. Reward yourself.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Build in rewards for sticking to the plan.
“When you can see a reward,
it helps keep you motivated.”
5. Limit your card use.
Carry only one credit card in your wallet or purse. If you have a habit of pulling out the plastic for things that aren’t in your budget, make it more difficult to do.
Try wrapping your card in paper with a reminder written on it. Anything that helps remind you of your budget will make it easier to break bad habits.
6. Learn good habits.
Speaking of habits, learn to do things differently. If you are a habitual card user, carry cash. Making purchases with cash can help you to see exactly where your money is going.
Save all of your receipts. Keeping a log of where you spent your money is a good habit to get into.
7. Set attainable goals.
The reason to make a budget and stick to it should be to achieve a goal.
By setting goals that are reasonable and attainable, you will have a better chance of success. Success is its own reward.
Even if you have had trouble sticking to a budget in the past, forgive yourself. Maybe you didn’t have the right tools or took an approach that didn’t work well for you.
Using these simple tips should help you to create a budget that works and to stay on track in following it.
Photo source: Case