Creating 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:
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Eliminate impulse spending. Use the 48 hours rule (wait 48 hours before purchasing any big impulse items) to help combat random, non-essential purchases.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.