How to Stick to a Budget
We all know we should be budgeting, but it can be hard to create one, and harder yet to stick to it. We put the budget to the back of our minds when we want something, and usually, we’ll give in to the temptation to buy something shiny and new.
So how can we make sure create a budget that works for us? And how can we make sure we stick to it, even when a new outfit, or a weekend trip, seems to call our names?
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Here are 5 smart tips on how to stick to a budget!
1. Have a detailed daily budget
Most people don’t go into detail when creating their budget, they just look at how much they can spend over the course of a month or a year and promise themselves they’ll stick to it.
But by having a daily budget worked out, you’ll be much more aware of how much money you’ve actually got to play with.
Say you set yourself a budget of $20 a day, you would notice your spending habits much more, as even a simple sandwich would be a huge chunk of your daily allowance.
A daily budget will help you think more about whether you actually need something, as opposed to whether or not you want it. For even more advice on budgeting and managing your money, pick up a copy of this book!
2. List your expenditures at the end of each day
It can be easy to spend money without keeping track of it, even if you have a daily budget. It might not feel like you’ve bought a lot each day, but it all adds up.
By listing your expenditures at the end of each day, you’ll see exactly how much money you’ve spent and you’ll be able to think over whether or not you needed to spend that much.
You’ll also become much more aware of how much things actually cost, and you’ll start to question if a sandwich is worth $5 when you could just as easily make one at home.
As well as being able to kick yourself when you overspend one day, you might find that some days your spending was within or under the budget, and on those days you’ll feel a great sense of achievement.
3. Take out cash each day
Buying things is becoming scarily easy. You just tap the plastic online or in a store and you’re done. It almost feels like you’re not spending anything!
So to make spending feel a little more real, set yourself a daily allowance and take out only the amount of cash that you want to spend for the day. Don’t let yourself draw out any more.
If you can, leave any cards at home, so that no matter what tempts you, you can’t pay for anything that costs more than your daily budget. This way, you’ll see your cash physically depleting, and each expense will feel much more real. Once your cash for the day is gone, it’s gone.
This hack should encourage you to spend less than your daily budget, as no one likes to have an empty wallet. It’s a much nicer feeling to head home for the day, knowing that your wallet is still full.
If you have some cash left over at the end of the day, you could put it into a savings tin, and then put that into your bank at the end of the month.
Or if you feel that you deserve a reward for sticking to your budget, you can build up your savings tin and spend the money on a treat for yourself at the end of the month. This will give you some incentive to keep budgeting.
4. Write a grocery list, and stick to it!
Grocery shopping can be a budget killer. It can be so hard to stick to a budget when all the yummy goods and the ‘limited time only’ deals jump out at you.
So to avoid spending more than you need to, write out a grocery list before you head to the store. Then tell yourself that you mustn’t stray from the list!
This way you’ll buy only what you need, and you’ll probably be able to better plan meals so that your groceries go further.
When you write your list though, make sure you’re not hungry. Shopping, and even writing a shopping list while hungry can lead to you ending up with much more food than you need, and will likely leave a painful dent in your budget, and bank account.
5. Have a financial goal
Often the reason we do so badly with budgeting is because we have no motivation or reason to budget. So before you try and get yourself to stick to a budget, ask yourself why you’re doing it. What’s the end game?
Whether you’re saving up for a house, a holiday, a new car, whatever, there needs to be a reason behind your budgeting if you want it to work. Without a solid and motivating reason to budget, you’re much more likely to stray.
Remind yourself of the reason behind your budgeting every day, and suddenly those new jeans, or a seemingly innocent chai latte, will seem like a financial hindrance, rather than a reasonable purchase or worthy and delicious temptation.
If you’re to steer clear of luxuries, your reason for budgeting, your financial goals, need to be more important to you than the odd moment of indulgence.
To sum up…
If you’re to succeed in budgeting, you need to think carefully about how much you want to allow yourself to spend each day, and think about how you’ll make sure you stick to your daily allowance, as sometimes our willpower isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be.
You also need to regularly remind yourself of the reason why you’re budgeting, so that every day you can feel a bit closer to your financial goal. With a goal in place, you’ll be much less likely to fall at the first hurdle of temptation.
You might also like: