Reaping the benefits of a well-balanced budget is a game of stamina and determination. You really have to be committed to your goals and be in it for the long haul!
Sticking to a budget can be a real challenge, particularly if you aren’t used to restricting yourself in any way. We all are at different levels of self-control and discipline, both practices that take time to master. But never fear, we have organized the top 6 tips that are tested and true to help you stick to your budget!
Make It Fun
We live in a world where we strive for immediate satisfaction from everything we do. Engaging in activities that are restrictive and don’t show immediate results are demoralizing to many (that’s the pitfall of dieting also!).
Budgeting can be a downer, especially if you are taking away some of life’s pleasures. But this modern world has also made a way to make almost anything fun!
There is such a wealth of resources for budgeting these days that it should be an absolute breeze. Mobile apps enable you to “gamify” your budgeting and get pleasure out of boring budgeting tasks.
Find out what motivates you to have fun with your budget and ingrain it into your daily routines. Do you like games, lists, or rewards? There’s something out there for everyone!
It sounds pretty simple, and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, but it cannot go unmentioned.
Your brain responds so strongly to the things it likes. And if spending money is one of those things, whether it be shopping, eating out, then seeing the items you want will send strong signals to the brain.
So it’s simple, don’t look at those things. Don’t walk into the shops “just to have a look” and remove the bookmarks for your favorite online stores.
When shopping for food, go in with a list and a plan, and don’t even think about going down the aisles you don’t need to. Have set days that you visit the grocery store. Make your supplies last until the next visit. Frequent stops add more opportunities for you to succumb to the confectionery aisle.
This tip is a run-on of the previous tip. It is all well and good to reduce temptation and practicing self-discipline, but you should not starve yourself of things you enjoy either!
Completely taking away the things you enjoy simply is not healthy, nor is it sustainable in the long term. While it might work great for a start, you are likely to fall hard. And you may end up feeling demoralized with budgeting altogether.
Life is full of unexpected scenarios. No matter how well you plan, things are bound to pop up. Your budget should have wiggle room so that you can deal with unexpected events or emergencies.
Without emergency money, each time you make progress, you find something that will knock you back to square one, over and over again.
Budgets only work if you approach them earnestly and realistically. While a budget template can offer you some good starting guidelines, you must personalize your budget for your lifestyle.
Create a budget that is realistic to your income and expenditure with a spending clause and wiggle room with those unexpected expenses.
When looking at your budget, you must fit in some spending money. When things are tight, this can feel like it won’t be helpful. But, trust me, in the long term, it is!
Restriction always ends in temptations, which leads to indulgence.
Setting aside a portion of your budget for your things like eating out, shopping and entertainment, will mean you will hardly feel restricted by your budget at all.
Stay Connected to Your Motivation
When you set your initial budget, make sure you have some real “oomph” behind it. Set your budget with intention—do you want to be debt-free? Do you want to be prepared for emergencies? Saving for college? Buying a house?
Discover your motivation and the drive behind your goals. Keep them in your mind and heart always. Continually reconnect to your intentions to stay motivated when things seem tough, or you feel your budget starting to become unstable.
Track your spending every day and incorporate reviewing your budget as part of your daily routine. For some, it helps to visualize your goals and progress by plastering reminders around the home.
You can also utilize an accountability partner or a “budget buddy” to help you stay connected to your motivation. Talking about your progress with someone who shares your same goals offers a sense of camaraderie that boosts motivation.
Sometimes the budget is blown by the “unexpected.” Other times, it is blown by the expected! Don’t let special events sneak up on you. Make sure your budget is flexible. You can change it around as needed depending on how your calendar looks.
Consider a flexible budget that will morph to fit your events and calendars, or create a separate account that is added to every budget that is especially for these extra special events.
Image by: [KAROLINA GRABOWSKA]