If you have been proactive enough to develop a budget, the only thing standing in your way to success is committing and following through. Here are some helpful hints to help you stick to even the tightest financial plan.
Keep it Fresh
Make a habit of reviewing your budget on a regular basis. Keeping your financial situation and goals fresh in your mind is a very good way to stay on track. Train yourself to think about purchases in terms of how many hours or days of work they cost, not dollars. Thinking this way will force you to take an honest look at how much you really want or need an item and make your purchases a lot less spontaneous. When your budget is on your mind it will be more difficult for you to slip and make mistakes.
Groceries are the second highest and most important expense behind shelter; so needless to say, they are a huge piece of the puzzle. Plan your meals ahead and make a detailed list of all needed ingredients, cross off what you already have at home, and if you can, use an app on your phone or coupon circulars to find the best deals. Shop at multiple stores and avoid impulse shopping by always following the number one rule…DON’T GO TO THE GROCERY STORE HUNGRY!
We are human and by nature we must entertain ourselves. After reviewing your spending, you have allotted yourself a chunk of funds to spend on just that. One great way to help you stick to your goal in this area is to pace yourself. You can go to dinner one night and a movie that weekend; you don’t need to spend your entire budget doing everything in one night. Also, when you are joining friends that like to spend like high rollers, suggest activities or restaurants that are more wallet friendly.
Just because you are on a budget does not mean you cannot allow yourself the luxuries in life, just be smart about it. When you are making those major purchases, like televisions or vacations, do your research and make sure you are getting the best deal. When it is time to bite the bullet, only take as much CASH as needed for the actual purchase, doing so will keep you from the trap of overspending.
Pre-Paid Debit Cards
Figure out how much money you have set aside for things like groceries and gas and entertainment and load it onto a pre-paid debit or credit card. Using this card to make those purchases for the month will ensure that you only spend the amount you have allotted for yourself. You can easily add more money as each new month comes.
Sticking to a budget is not easy, but following these tips will greatly improve your chances of success. With planning and a clear head you can make all your purchases ones that you can feel good about.
George Gallagher works with people to find solutions to their student loan consolidation worries. He is also an avid reader and writer of all things related to personal finance.