Assuming by this point you’ve already completed the initial setup of your budget, now you just have to stick to it. You’re already aware of your goals, how much you make, and how much you’d like to spend in various categories. You’ve put in the hours going through all your financials and you know it’s possible to achieve your goals with just a little dedication and work. You set up a plan and now it’s time to execute.
Easier said than done right? The set up is actually the easy part when it comes to budgeting. The really hard work starts now. If you can’t muster the mental toughness and dedication to execute your plan, then your plan is as worthless as the paper you wrote it on. You are going to be tempted by old habits and new temptations. You’ll inevitably deviate from your budget and fail to execute 100%. The important thing is that when you fail, you don’t give up. Mistakes aren’t the end of budgeting. The true financial warriors pick up and strive to get better each day.
In this article, we’ve put together some tips for budgets to help keep them on track. Sticking to a budget can be a hard task, but there are certainly things you can do to increase your success rate. Here are just a few tips we can give:
How To Stick To A Budget
- Remember the rewards. Constantly remind yourself of what you are going to be getting in return for what you are giving up. It can be easy to get caught up in what you are “losing” by budgeting which can make it hard to stay the course. By reminding yourself daily what you are working towards, you can increase your mental willpower to keep you on track. Write yourself some sticky notes to put around the house, or watch a daily motivational video. Find what works for you.
- Change your mindset. Start thinking in terms of whether or not you need each thing that you’re buying/paying for. Can you live with out it? Do you really need to replace x item or can you fix it instead? How many uses will you get out of x item for y cost?
- Only bring cash out with you. If spending discipline is tough on you, then start using only cash. While credit cards can be an amazing money saving tool if used right, they also psychologically make it easier for you to spend money. By using only cash and limiting the amount you bring with you, you are forcing yourself to not be able to over spend. You’re also feeling the pain as you see your hard earned cash literally be handed over in exchange for what you’re buying.
- Prioritize paying off debt. With debt comes interest. Interest makes paying off debt take way longer, especially if you are making small payments. If you make paying off your debt your top priority, it will open up more opportunities for your money much faster than if you continue to pay off little bits of debt while the interest racks up.
- Budget with friends. Friends can be a great accountability partner for you. If you get your friends to start budgeting their money you can turn budgeting into a game of who’s doing it the better and who’s saving more each month. Plus, you’ll be helping them increase their financial awareness and in turn helping yourself by gaining someone who is keeping you accountable to your goals.
- Have a “miscellaneous” fund. Let’s face it. There’s always things each month that you never could have though or planned for buying. That’s why having a “miscellaneous” category on your budget can be a great way to buy the random things that come up, while still not overspending.
- Reward yourself. While this may sound counter intuitive, having a “reward” budget category where you save a set amount each month that you can spend on yourself ONLY if you successfully followed your budget can be a big initiative to keep you on track. You can spend the fund on anything you want so long as you met your goals for that month.
Sticking to a budget can be one of the hardest parts of budgeting in general. Over time and with practice you will get better at sticking to it, but it will always be something that is challenging. Spending money is a part of daily life, just make sure you never let it get out of your control.