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You’ve set your personal budget, and now you need to stick to it. Struggling with that part? Here are five tips to help.
If you’re struggling to stick to your personal budget, you are not alone. There are a lot of people out there who set their budget and then forget about it. Or they set it and it’s unrealistic, so they can’t stick to it. There are also those who just need to get into the habit of sticking to a budget.
Don’t feel bad for struggling. Feeling bad will just make you give up on even setting a budget. Instead, look at why you’re struggling and what you can do instead. It’s time to get into the mindset of a budget so you can do more with your money.
I’ve been where you are. Here are my five top tips for sticking to a personal budget.
Make sure your personal budget is reasonable
The first thing you need to do is look at your budget. Is it something that you can stick to?
While you’ve set $400 for groceries, you may find that they’re costing you a lot more. The price of food is ridiculous right now, and there are certain things you can’t cut out if you want to remain healthy and fulfilled. So, you need to rework your budget to help with this problem.
What about your budget for your personal care? Or the budget that you have for your subscriptions? If you’ve cut yourself down way too much, it’s going to be hard to stick to. That doesn’t mean you can’t get there, but you may want to do things in baby steps.
Work your way down to where you would love to be. Maybe you want to be able to save $500 per month, but your current steps are saving you $250. That’s okay. Work with that and then slowly cut out other parts of your spending so that you can save the full amount.
Save up for emergencies
Emergencies happen, and they are going to affect your personal budget if you’re not ready for them. While you can’t predict when the emergencies will happen or how much money you’ll need, you can make sure you have a spending allowance available.
I have two savings accounts for emergencies and extra expenses. The first is a sinking funds account. This is there for when I need to get a service on my car or when my kids need something extra for school or their extracurricular activities. It’s a small amount, but it helps.
Then there’s my emergency savings. I’m working on getting this to be six months of my monthly income so that I have something in case I lose a client or I can’t work for a while. It’s also there for much bigger emergencies should I need it.
If you don’t have anything for emergencies, it needs to become part of your budget. Even if it’s just $50 per month, start saving up now so the actual emergencies aren’t going to cause you to go into more credit card debt.
Sleep on the purchases you want to make
Unless it’s an emergency, you don’t really need to make a lot of purchases. So you want a new computer, or you want a new couch. Do you really need them? One of the best ways to stick to your budget is to not make the big purchases right away. Sleep on them.
And I mean for more than one night. If you really want, put them in an online cart but don’t click the buy button. I’ve removed my cards from most of the online accounts so that I have to manually input them again should I want to buy something. I don’t tend to go through with that step because the truth is I don’t need what I’m putting in the cart.
Give it a few days and see how you feel then. Our emotions affect our spending, especially if you’re usually a spender. So, give it time and then you’ll be proud of yourself when you stick to your budget.
Tell your friend about your personal budget
Find a friend you can trust. Let them know that you have a budget, and that you’re sticking to it. You don’t need to give them any details of what that budget is. All you need to do is tell them that you have a plan that you would like to stick to.
You could even ask your friend to check in with you. Ask them to ask how the saving plan is going. Ask them to see how your spending plan is working out. And then be honest with them. If it’s not going great, admit it. If you’re doing well, let them know. Each time, thank them for asking and then keep going on with the plan that you have.
Our friends can keep us accountable for a plan that we have in mind. This often encourages us to stick to those plans, and it can work with a budget, too.
Lower your credit limit
I would suggest having one credit card that is for emergencies only. This is kept out of your purse, and it’s put somewhere that means you need to physically get up and unlock a safe for it. That helps to reduce the chances of you using it for anything but emergencies.
Other credit cards, you may want to get rid of entirely. However, if you’re like me, you use credit cards for cash flow. You don’t need the big limits on the cards. Instead, you can opt for a limit that matches the budget that you have to spend.
Let’s say you will spend $2,000 per month on food, gas, subscriptions, and any necessities. That is your personal budget. You don’t have the money to go over that. Have one credit card with that limit. That’s what you use to spend the money. You only have the money available on the card, pay it off at the end of the month, and then it’s ready for another month.
You can also use the cash-only or envelope method. This is great if you struggle not to go over credit limits or you can’t get a credit card yet. You’ll only be able to spend the cash that’s available. If you have any credit cards, though, you want to make sure not to use them and keep the limits low.
What do you do to make sure you stick to your personal budget? What are you struggling with when it comes to finances? Let me know in the comments below.
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