How To Stick To a Budget

How To Stick To a BudgetCreating a healthy spending habit can be difficult to start. It’s not something that comes naturally to most people, and often just thinking about money causes people stress. However, finding yourself in a dire financial situation can really cause some serious stress to your life, that’s why understanding how to stick to a budget and creating good financial habits is essential to your well being.

Once you have a budget, how do you stick to it? Here are my top 8 tips for making yourself stick to a budget:

  1. Write it down. Don’t just have a general idea of what your budget should be or how much you think you are spending. Write out a detailed budget and continue to monitor your spending compared to your plan.

    Create goals to keep your budget on track
    Create goals to keep your budget on track.

  2. Create goals and milestones. When you have goals and celebration milestones, it helps you stay mindful of your spending knowing you are working toward something, and you can feel the success as you hit your goals one by one.
  3. Commit to a tracking system. There are many different ways to track your expenses, so identify the one that fits you best and commit to tracking your expenses consistently. Learn how to get started – see my post on How To Track Your Expenses.
  4. Eliminate impulse spending. Use the 48 hours rule (wait 48 hours before purchasing any big impulse items) to help combat random, non-essential purchases.
  5. Hold yourself accountable. Use your spouse, a friend, or a family member who you are willing to share your financial struggles with that will help hold you accountable. Check in once a week with them on how you are doing.

    Tracking Expenses
    Track expenses and hold yourself accountable.

  6. Allow for unanticipated expenses. You can’t predict everything, so create a little padding in your budget for unforeseen expenses. Home repairs, car repairs, and medical expenses can easily come out of nowhere. Put it in your budget and if you don’t spend it, save it!
  7. Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement can be great motivation. Make your reward something simple, but also a treat that makes you happy. Just don’t spend foolishly!
  8. Commit to NO debt. Unless you are good with using credit cards, don’t use them. If you can buy a car without a car payment, do it. If you have a mortgage, start paying a little extra when you can.

Get over your fear of having a budget and sticking to it by creating some simple financial habits to help keep you on track and learn how to stick to a budget. The sooner you start good habits the easier it will be down the road. Stick to a budget, track your expenses, and your goals will quickly be within reach.

4 thoughts on “How To Stick To a Budget

  1. Hi Jen!

    This issue has always been chasing me. I’ve never been good to stick to a budget.

    I just go with the flow. If this month money is tight, that’s alright, I don’t buy extras. But if next month, I’m in the money, there you go, it never becomes savings.

    I see some good advice in your article. I’ll definitely try some of them, let’s see if I can finally save a little 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Israel – Sticking to a budget definitely comes with practice and routine. Once you start seeing progress and saving some money, it becomes easier and easier. Soon you find new ways to save! I know a lot of people that just go with the flow too and don’t give to much thought to managing their money, unfortunately they usually don’t end up with much savings either. Thanks for your comment! ~Jen

  2. Hey Jen!

    Some great information that I wished I could have known earlier in life. I always tell meyself to stick to a budget but it hardly ever works out. Gonna try to use some of your great tips on budgeting. Seems like costs are always rising but income stays the same.

    I especially believe tip number 8 is something too many of us know to follow but hardly do. Debt is a killer.

    Kind of a random question, but do you have any advice on how to train or educate kids on budgeting and saving?

    1. Hi Charlie – I agree, knowing things like budgeting your money earlier in life if the best way to have a financially successful future. One of the best ways to educate kids is through example, as well giving them an allowance to budget for the toys they want.

      My friend gives her 9-year old son an allowance and he can either save it or spend it, but he doesn’t get anything additional outside of his “paydays”. The parents also have to maintain a sense of discipline too and not give into the kids pleas for more money or that they ‘deserve’ a reward. It can be a tough lesson for both! Thanks for your comment and question. ~Jen

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