I like to think of budgets as a diet for your money. You need to watch every cent, be disciplined, and be accountable at the end of the day.
And just like diets, budgets can be tough to stick to. However, we all need to understand that nothing worth having is ever easy! So don’t give up if you have a splurge or a blowout – hey we all do it every now and then (even us here at SAHM!). What can I say – no one is perfect!
Admitting that mistakes are unavoidable does not mean just quitting budgeting altogether. Like what we said, budgeting is worth it; you will surely see rewards not just down the road but along the way. Here are 5 tips for sticking to a budget:
1. Write it Down!
To be accountable for your spending, first you need to know where it’s going in plain black and white! That means sitting down with pen and paper or using a spreadsheet to find out your financial position. Think of it like a food diary – you write down what you eat to see where your going wrong. This is exactly the same thing. And you need to be brutally honest or else you’ll just be cheating on yourself. If you’re not sure, keep every receipt for a fortnight and log them into your budget. You will soon see where that money is going. Once you know where it is going, you can work on how to reduce it i.e. “cut the fat.”
If you’re not sure, keep every receipt for a fortnight and log them into your budget.
The best way to avoid getting overwhelmed by your budget is to divide them into categories such as these:
- Rent/Mortgage Repayments
- Utilities (Electricity, gas, water)
- Phone, Mobile and Internet Expenses
- Insurance (House, Health, Life, Car etc)
- Car, Transportation and Tickets
- Food and Clothing
- Other (debts, gym memberships etc)
I need to emphasise just how important savings are. You might have heard of “Paying yourself first” – this is so true. If you keep spending all your money and leave nothing for yourself (and your family), what will take care of you during hard times?
It is best decide on the amount after you have completed your budget! This way, you wouldn’t be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself if your current income and budget just cannot allow your desired savings. If you’re totally new to saving, I suggest you start small and develop the habit first. Gradually, you will be able to set aside larger amounts and your savings will surely grow.
When it comes to saving money, it is best to start small.
Oh, and put that money in a separate account that has a good interest rate!