Making and sticking to a budget can be difficult for anybody. It always starts off with good intentions and the promise to keep up with your budget, but then your favorite store has a huge sale, or you have an unexpected bill pop up.
No matter what the cause, there are a lot of reasons why people end up overspending. If you find yourself overspending often, your New Year's Resolution in 2018 is to learn how to make a budget and stick to it!
Why Should I Budget?
Creating a budget puts you ahead of the game by presenting a clear snapshot of your overall financial situation.
If you want to spend money on things like entertainment and travel, but still stay financially stable, creating a budget is crucial.
How Do I Make a Budget and Stick to It?
A budget should be easy to understand and stick with while you're trying to get in the habit of tracking your finances.
Start with tracking any income that you have and all your spending, from bills to groceries. Keep track of all your transactions and online payments so you get a clear picture of your spending.
Subtract your total expenses from your income so that you can see what money you have left over each month.
By tracking these expenses in one place, you get a clear picture of where your money goes (and maybe where it can stop going).
Your Budget Should Evolve
Your spending and income will change as your life does, so your budget should change to reflect that. Take time every few months, or after a major event like a health emergency or new job, to reevaluate if your current plan.
Ready to start budgeting?
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you learn how to stick to your budget.
Pay in Cash
Credit cards are convenient and may tempt you to spend more money than you have. Carrying cash makes it easier to only spend what you have available. Something about the act of handing over physical money makes it harder to make impulse decisions versus using a card.
Track ALL Your Spending
Many small purchases can amount to a large sum of money by the end of the month. Spending a dollar here or five dollars there might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your budget over time.
You may be surprised to see how much you can reduce your overall spending once you realize how much those small purchases add up.
Set Aside Time to Maintain Your Budget
Budgeting can take up a lot of time if you don't have a working system.
If you don't want to save a lot of receipts, take a picture of them on your phone whenever you make a purchase.
Make it a habit to set aside a recurring time each week to update your spending and tracking, and make any adjustments to your budget. This also gives you a weekly picture of your financial standings.
Limit Shopping Trips
The less you go out, the less you’re likely to spend. You're also more likely to buy impulse items if you see them in the stores.
Try to assign a set day for grocery shopping and other household items, that way you have less trips to the store and less receipts to track, too.
Pro tip: Don't grocery shop while you're hungry or you'll find your cart loaded up with snacks and food that look especially yummy today.
Make a List
A great way to avoid over spending is to make a list of only the items you need. They can be grocery items, household items, or even utility bills. Making a list for grocery items makes it easy to only get what you really need.
If you make a list of all the things you need to purchase and how much those items cost, you'll have a great idea of how much you need to spend each month.
Don't get discouraged if you have trouble when you first start budgeting, just use these tips to learn how to make a budget and stick to it and you'll be on your way to saving money in no time!