Sticking to a budget is no easy task, but it is an enormously satisfying one. Here are our best tips for sticking to your budget.
Find an Accountability Partner
It really helps to have someone who is on the same team as you when it comes to your budget. This might be a family member or your spouse.
Designate a No-Spend Day
Spending a little bit here and there each day really adds up fast. Curb the death-by-a-thousand-small-purchases by designating a no-spend day (or two or three!) each week. If you don’t have exactly the right ingredients, improvise. Need paper towels? Use a regular towel for just one day. You will survive.
If you want to trim some areas in your budget so you can pay down debt or save for an upcoming vacation, good for you. However, it’s important to make sure your budget is still realistic. Feeling deprived will put you on the fast track to budget rebellion. Cut back within reason, but don’t cut out everything you love.
Pair It With Something Fun
For everyone who is not thrilled by the idea of sitting down with a budgeting spreadsheet each day, try pairing it with something fun. Save a nice chocolate bar to eat only when you are working on your budget. Take yourself on a walk or go to a favorite bookstore when your weekly budgeting duties are complete. By coupling budgeting with something enjoyable, you won’t dread it so much — or put it off.
If you are “borrowing” money from one section of your budget and using it somewhere else, it’s easy to skew the numbers a little bit to suit your impulsive buying. Instead try using the envelope system. You put cash in an envelope weekly or monthly for certain spending categories (like clothing, food, etc.), and once the money’s gone, it’s gone. No borrowing here and there. No cash advance for the next week or month. You can’t overspend if the money’s not there!