By now, you’ve set up your budget. You are aware of what your goal is in setting up your budget. It could be as simple as being able to pay off your debt within a certain amount of time, or as complex as being able to invest for retirement. You’ve spent hours looking through your invoices and statements to unearth all of your spending. You processed all the information and adjusted allocations to your spending categories so that your spending will be consistent with attaining your financial goal.
Alas, although being able to create your budget is a great start, all of this is only on paper. The real hard work is still to come. But without the discipline and the willpower to stick to your budget, budgeting is hardly worth the paper you printed it on.
While trying to stick to your budget, you will be exposed to temptations and driven by old habits that will get you off-track. There will be times you will succumb, and you will feel that you have failed. This is okay, especially if you are just starting out living by your budget. You can pick yourself up and resolve to be stronger next time.
You might also need some tips and tricks to make sticking to your budget easier. Here are some of them:
- Always remind yourself of the rewards of sticking to your budget. Know that the small sacrifices in spending you do today will result in big payouts in the future. The small amount you are able to save by cutting your cable will result in your financial well-being when you retire twenty or thirty years from now. If you need to, stick a message to yourself on a visible place to remind you of what you want to achieve.
- Adopt a frugal living mindset by asking yourself before you buy anything: can you use it up, wear it out, clean it up, make do, or do without. See these other money saving tips to have a money-saving mentality.
- Make discipline easy for you by leaving your credit card at home, for example, or bringing just enough cash that your budget allow you to spend.
- Use cash. Credit cards are made precisely to psychologically make it easy and painless for you to spend. The sight of forking out actual cash makes you appreciate more the amount of money that you are letting go.
- Make it a priority to pay down your debt. Credit card or other high interest debt is like a hole that makes your budgeting harder. The sooner you get rid of this debt, the more money is available to you for more important purposes, and the easier it is to stick to your budget. Of course, ideally you should not get into debt.
- Struggle hard to cut habits that cost money. These are not just in the form of cigarettes or alcohol, but other seemingly low-cost stuff like gum, soda or coffee. Look at your spending diary and you will find these spending lurking there.
- If you find yourself lacking discipline and always reach out into your savings, get a special account with early withdrawal penalties. A CD (certificate of deposit) is an example of this. Another advantage of these special accounts is that it pays more interest than the average savings account.
- Educate yourself on how to save on necessities. These are stuff you absolutely need to spend on, but you can find ways to minimize your spending. This site, for example, has pages that provide tips on how to save on food, electricity and heating.
- Involve your family or people dependent on your money in budgeting. Inform them of what you are trying to accomplish and make them contribute to your effort in following your budget. Your effort on saving can easily be rendered useless by other members of your family spending indiscriminately.
- Build in allowance for unexpected spending. Remember that life is unpredictable, and things happen that are outside your control. Get insurance for expenses that could devastate your finances. For smaller emergencies, put a contingency fund in your budget.
- Include in your budget a reward for successfully… sticking to your budget. Whatever reward you decide to give yourself, be sure not to give yourself the same within your budgeting period . If your reward is a night out, never go on a night out until your budgeting is successful. Treat your reward as a reward.