Little Known Ways to Stop Busting Your Budget
1. Think Positive: Budgeting isn’t something you should dread, it’s actually extremely freeing. Instead of worrying about your purchases you can rest easy knowing your spending has been budgeted for. As a mom this always makes me feel so much better about buying myself little extras like makeup and accessories because I know it’s money I planned to spend, and I can do so without regret.
- Get On The Same Page: Make sure you spend time talking about your goals and spending habits with your spouse. Opposites attract and when it comes to money and marriage you usually find one partner is a spender and the other is a saver. If your husband wants to put $300 per month in savings and you want to buy a new pair of shoes each month, find a middle ground where you can both agree.
- It’s All In The Planning: A common mistake when writing a budget is unrealistic expectations. If you like to eat out as a family, or pick up surprises for the kids, or get the car washed, make sure you plan accordingly. The best thing you can do is account for what like to do, even if you can’t do those things as often. For example: If you like to go out to eat every Sunday, cut it down to 2 Sundays a month. You are being realistic about your habits, while using self-control by budgeting what you can afford.
- Cash It Out: This is the best tip I can give when it comes to sticking to your budget. When my husband and I made our first budget to get out of debt, we followed a cash & envelope system. Every time my husband got paid we would pay all of the bills first (by debit or check) and place the remaining amount in cash in an allocated envelope (food, gas, miscellaneous). Actually seeing the amount of money in the envelope taught me to be more careful with my spending.
- Don’t Take The Credit: If you have credit cards get rid of them (or at least lock them up). Credit cards are an easy way to live beyond our means, and you generally pay more than a product or service is worth after paying interest.
- Shop Smarter: Make sure you shop with a list and when you’re not hungry. Only buying what’s on the list can save you hundreds of dollars. Why do you think they keep the milk in the back? It’s because they count on your browsing (buying) as you walk down the aisles to get the necessities. Lists aren’t just for grocery stores; don’t leave the house without a buying plan!
- Everything Changes: Make sure you update your budget yearly and set a new goal. Things change especially as children grow older.
[photo by Images_of_Money]