How to Stick to Your Budget
Although creating a budget can be tricky, sticking to that budget is often even harder. You must be diligent, dedicated to your goals, and willing to make sacrifices. If you're wondering how to stick to your budget, let's start at the beginning. First, you must set a realistic budget; don't set goals that will be impossible to reach. After you've created your initial budget, work with it for a months to be sure that it's feasible yet still ambitious, and make adjustments as needed. Once your plan is set in stone, use the tips below to learn how to stick to your budget.
How to Stick to Your Budget
Monitor your spending often. Tracking your budget and monitoring your progress provides a reality check. You may think that you're doing really well until you see the actual, honest, unflinching numbers. At least once a week, check in on your progress. These days it is easier than ever to track your finances using online banking and apps like Mint.com.
Create firm goals. Many people find that it's difficult to stick to a firm budget without a concrete goal. For example, perhaps you want to pay off debt, make a down payment on a house, or travel to Europe. Create a firm goal and constantly remind yourself of it for motivation and encouragement.
Eliminate temptations. What are your weak spots when it comes to spending, and how can you eliminate the temptation to spend more? If you're an online shopper, unsubscribe from e-mails that will entice you with sales and coupons. If you shop in stores, eliminate spontaneous and unfocused trips to the mall. If you often wander around grocery stores without a plan, filling your cart with whatever stands out, create a firm to-buy list beforehand. Just learning about the tricks retailers use to tempt consumers can help you avoid temptation.
Research big-ticket items. If you're planning to spend a significant amount of money on something, research it carefully beforehand. Look at product review sites, search for coupons and sales, and browse online to figure out who offers the lowest price. It also important to start planning early so that you don't make a rushed decision due in desperation.
Consider using cash only. This plan isn't for everyone. In fact, many people prefer to use credit cards for spending because they make tracking easy and they provide rewards. However, swiping a card can also make you forget how much money you're actually spending. If you have trouble with mindless purchases and credit card debt, consider using only cash. Handing several twenty-dollar bills to a cashier may be unsettling and make you rethink the purchase. Plus, if you don't let yourself get more cash until your budget cycle ends, you will be forced to stick to your plan.
Create a visual reminder. In the midst of busy days, it can be easy to forget your goals. A visual reminder will inspire you to keep up the hard work. For example, many people enjoy filling a large glass jar with spare change so they can see their progress. You could also create a chart with benchmark goals, which you can cross off as you reach them. Some people even use a coloring book page, which they color in as they make progress. Whatever works!
Everyone is different, so find the strategies that work for you and stick to them. In addition, review your budget, spending, and progress regularly, and be sure that your financial institution is helping you achieve your goals with tools like online banking, convenient apps, rewarding credit cards, and affordable loans.
Speaking of which, are you interested in joining a credit union? If you live or work in southwest Missouri, check out BluCurrent Credit Union. With our unbeatable loan options, 6,800 shared branches across the country, and fantastic customer service, we might be the perfect financial institution for you. To learn more about our services and benefits, please stop by one of our branches or explore our website. We would be happy to help you learn how to stick to your budget.