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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?