Budgeting 101: Sticking to a Budget

Sticking to a Budget - www.livelychicken.com

Welcome to the 2nd installment of Budgeting 101: Back to the Basics.  If you missed part 1, I suggest going back here so we’re all on the same page!

Okay.  You’ve created a budget.  Now what?

Bad news is that creating a budget is the easy part.  Sticking to a budget is more difficult.  But Matt and I have been doing pretty well lately so here’s our advice.  I’d love to hear your advice too!

EveryDollar Budget - www.livelychicken.com

  1. Make your budget accessible – if you’re out shopping and can’t remember how much money you have left in your budget, you’re likely to overspend.  Use a budgeting app like Every Dollar or take a picture of your budget before you head out the door. Having your budget on your phone is a great reminder to stay on track with your spending.
  2. Use cash – the best way to make your budget accessible is to have it in cash!  Though I’m sure you pay a lot of your bills online, having cash for things that you buy in a store – groceries, clothing, gas – puts a hard limit on your spending.  Leave your cards at home.  If you only have $100 cash left for groceries, you can’t put $120 worth of food in the cart.Gas Guru - www.livelychicken.com
  3. Get the most for your money – take some time to compare prices in the grocery store or find the cheapest gas prices in your area (I’ve started using Gas Guru, an app which shows the best local gas prices).  It doesn’t take much to make your money go further.
  4. Define need vs. want – before you make a purchase, ask yourself if the item you’re buying is something that you really need or if it’s just something you want.  If you don’t need the item, would the money be better spent elsewhere in your budget?
  5. Treat yourself – it’s difficult to maintain a budget if you feel deprived of everything!  Give yourself some fun money.  Just make sure this money is part of your plan at the beginning of the month.

Do you struggle to stick to your budget or are disciplined with your money?  Do you have any other tricks that make sticking to a budget easier?

Michelle at www.livelychicken.com

Disease Called Debt
Fun Money Mom

12 thoughts on “Budgeting 101: Sticking to a Budget”

  1. We’ve been budgeting a lot more lately and trying to just save. We definitely spend a lot for random and unnecessary things. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The only thing I don’t like about cash is that we have a hard time remembering to track it when we use it! We’ve gotten a budgeting app, but even remembering to pull that out is iffy.

    1. I usually add the cash to my budget as soon as I take it out of the ATM. It’s easier to track $100 for gas in my budget once a month than to track $15 or $20 in my budget every time I fill up. I use the old-fashioned envelope system to separate my cash and make sure I don’t spend gas money on groceries or vice versa. If I have leftover cash from any category at the end of the month, then I’ll go back to my budget and re-evaluate.

  3. Gary @ Super Saving Tips says:

    For the most part, my wife and I do pretty well sticking to our budget. One of the important things for us is when changes come up (to income, expenses, goals, or all 3!) that we make adjustments to the budget. We sit down together about twice a year and re-evaluate to make sure the budget is still working for us.

  4. The hardest part is writing everything down.

    1. I agree. That’s why I like the EveryDollar app. Whenever I spend money, I have my budget right there on my phone so it’s easy to update. Before I started using the app, I made updating my budget part of my morning routine. I’d add any expenses from the previous day. That way it only took a couple of minutes a day instead of building up to a bigger, daunting task.

  5. Edison? You live right by me! You should come to some of the NYC/NJ blogger meet ups!

    1. Yeah, I work in Edison but live up in Morris County. I didn’t realize you lived around here! Would love to come to a blogger meet up!

      1. Gary @ Super Saving Tips says:

        Haha I didn’t even notice Edison on the app photo. I’m in central NJ. Hopefully I’ll see you both at the local blogger meetups one of these days. 🙂

  6. I’m pretty good at sticking to our budget until the end of the month when I’m really craving takeout and we don’t have any money left to eat out 🙂

    1. Haha this happens to us too. Lately we’ve been using the money that is leftover from our gas budget for treats like takeout.

  7. I like your tip about having your budget handy, that’s something I don’t currently do at the minute. I still like my old fashioned spreadsheets rather than budgeting apps!

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