Pages Navigation Menu

Everything Personal Finance

Tricks Get Treats: 9 Tips For Helping You Stick To Your Budget

Budgeting is an important part of responsible financial management, but how many people actually stick to one? Budgeting is important to stop you from overspending, living within your means and clearing your debts. Being able to budget and save money are important skills for your future, especially once you start a family.

Image: Pixabay

If you regularly fail to stick to your budget, then the following nine tricks could help you stay on track and make budgeting finally work for you, allowing yourself for your hard work. Start fresh today and use these tips to help you stick to your budget.

1. Set yourself an important goal

You’re more likely to stick to a budget if you can visualize the end goal. If you’re looking to clear your debt or save for a new car, a vacation or anything else – your budget will be the way that you work towards your goal. Even if your goal is simply to manage your finances better, breaking that down into manageable aims will make you more likely to stick to your budget. Set yourself a savings goal each month and challenge yourself to reach it.

2. Track every penny of your spending

Smartphones are great for helping you save time and make life’s tasks easier, especially budgeting. There are a wide range of smartphone apps to help you track your spending which can give you an honest look at your finances and work out where you’re overspending. You might not think your daily coffee costs that much, but added up over the course of the year – it could be more significant than you think. Even by tracking your spending for a week, you can discover some interesting things about your finances that will identify areas for you to cut back. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you track every penny.

3. Set a budget that is realistic

If you set yourself a ridiculous budget, it’s going to be very difficult to achieve it. A common way to budget is the 50-20-30 rule where 50% of your earnings goes towards necessities and living costs, 20% goes into savings/clearing your debts and the remaining 30% goes on funding your lifestyle. The question ‘is the 50-20-30 budget a good rule of thumb?’ is a common one, and may not necessarily be the best way forward for your finances. In some cases, you may be able to decrease your 30% by making simple changes which could help you pay debts back quicker or save for the things you really want.

4. Start by saving first

If you’re the type of person who tends to save what’s left over at the end of the month, you could be putting yourself at risk of making no savings at all. Save at the beginning of the month instead, and you’ll be in a much better position to have some savings by the end of it. Transferring your savings to an account that can’t be accessed easily will force you to stick to your budget, and is a particularly great way to help you make those important savings for a house or car.

5. Make better use of your calendar

Your calendar can actually be a really useful tool for helping you stick to a budget. At the beginning of each month, work out what you have coming up that you’re going to need money for such as birthdays, nights out, trips, etc. This will help you factor those things into your budget to make it more manageable and to keep you within your means. If you have a particularly busy month, find ways you can save in other areas. Making meal plans is one way you can cut your grocery spend so that you can afford to go to that party or enjoy a meal out with friends. If your savings are small one month, make sure you try to boost your savings the next month to help you keep on track and make up for the shortfall.

6. Use cash, not cards

Using cash for certain things can help you keep better track on your spending, as well as make you think twice about parting with your money. Withdrawing a weekly amount to cover you for food, entertainment or shopping will mean that you know exactly how much you’re spending – unlike when you use a credit or debit card. If you’re reliant on paying with plastic, then breaking the habit and going cash-only for your budget could mean that you end up spending much less than you normally would. Use any leftover cash at the end of the week to put into a piggy bank or a savings jar, and use it to treat yourself at the end of the month as a reward for your hard work.

7. Remove yourself from situations where you could overspend

If you tend to go crazy at the supermarket or can’t be trusted in a shopping mall – remove yourself from these situations. Fortunately, online grocery shopping is becoming more popular and is something you can do that makes it easier for you to stick to a budget and stop throwing random items into your cart. In the same way, shopping for other things online like clothes or electronics can help you exercise better restraint than if you were in a store tempted by impulse buys. There are some great tricks for saving money with online shopping that help you get the things you really need for less, which could leave you with even more money at the end of the month.

8. Get a friend to help you

Sometimes it’s better to admit when you can’t do something on your own. Enlisting a friend who is good with money to help you stick to your budget could be a great move to help you out. If you want to go really extreme, you could ask them to look after your money until you need it – with you having to justify the ask each time. On a less severe note, you could simply enlist one friend you can text to check your purchases with – someone you trust to tell you when something isn’t really necessary. It’s good to have a friend on board who will stay in with you when you’re trying not to go out and will be happy for you to cook instead of dining out at restaurants all the time.

9. Don’t stop treating yourself

Some people think that in order to budget, you must stop treating yourself. This isn’t necessarily the case, as you can still treat yourself while sticking to a reasonable budget. If you include a budget for treats within your overall budget, you’ll know that you have a pot set aside for you to enjoy yourself each month. A budget without any room for treats will make you feel resentful and bored, things which can make it more difficult to stick to. Try rewarding yourself with experiences rather than things, such as a massage or a gig ticket that will enforce some positive memories and help you work harder towards sticking to your budget.

Sticking to a budget is tough, so don’t beat yourself if you don’t manage it straight away. Start over next month and use other tips to help your budget to stretch further for better savings. They save it takes 30 days for something to become a habit, so start following a budget now and see if you can make it stick.