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How to stick to a budget

How to stick to a budget

January 12, 2017
budget
Source: Shutterstock

Nobody wants to be on a budget. In fact, when we hear the word we often think about unpleasant things, such as debt or low income. But that’s not what being on a budget is and we should definitely not be afraid of it.

Being on a budget can be a good thing. Even wealthy people do it, not because they’re cheap, but because they’re responsible and because they understand that bad things can happen. Think about it. Economic crises occur quite often, and it takes just one to ruin you. However, if you’re responsible, smart and on a budget, you can avoid this.

Sticking to a budget takes a lot of discipline and even some sacrifices. It’s not as easy as we’d like it to be. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help make it easier.

Focus on what matters

The budget has only one purpose, to keep you out of financial trouble. This, in turn, will allow you to build a future with more financial freedom and less stress. Focus on that future when you feel like you want to ignore your budget.

Respect the budget

There’s a lot of temptation out there, but you need to ignore it and respect the budget. Cancel the credit cards you don’t need or stop carrying them. Set up barriers and make it harder for you to give in to your shopping impulse.

Groups help

It’s always easier to stick to a budget if you are part of a group of like-minded individuals. This group doesn’t necessarily have to include only your friends. It can be a forum, a website, even a Facebook group. Visit these places and talk to the people there. They will keep you on track and they might have additional advice which could help you with your budget.

Cash only!

It’s one thing to pay with cash, and a whole other thing to use a credit card. When you pay with cash, you feel all those bills leaving your hand. You see your wallet getting thinner. This can help you stop spending. However, when you use a credit card, you never really see the money leaving your pocket, although they most definitely do.

Reward yourself every once in a while

Make a game out of sticking to your budget. And, if you manage to do it, reward yourself every once in a while. Go out with friends, buy yourself something new, anything that makes you feel good about yourself for being such a responsible and smart individual.

Reevaluate your budget from time to time

Change is inevitable. You may get a new job, you may find that you need to fix your car or your home, or buy new clothes. These things might prevent you from sticking to your budget. That’s why it’s important to check it regularly and to tweak it from time to time.

Visual reminders are a great help

Remember that piggy bank you used to have as a kid? Get one again. Or, even better, get a glass jar, so that you’ll be able to see all that change building up. There are, of course, other types of reminders that you can use, like pictures of the things that you want to buy. Keep them close to you and they’ll motivate you to continue to save.

Never stop learning

Finances, money management, economics, learn everything you can about these things. Read books, listen to audiobooks, go to seminars or watch videos on Youtube. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to stick to your budget and achieve your goals.

Final word

Having a budget is a great way to improve your finances. All you need to do is to stick to it and you’ll see your dreams come true.

 

Gary Morgan

Gary Morgan is a Britain transplant. Finance background, enjoys tea, politics and soccer (or football for everyone across the pond). Get in touch with him via email

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