Frustrating, isn’t it? You’re trying to stick to this budget you created, but life always seems to get in the way. Here’s how to stick to your budget when the world around you refuses to cooperate.
Build A Savings
According to Sansone & Lauber, a car accident lawyer, automobile accidents can put a serious dent in your finances. Having a savings decreases the risk that you’ll blow your budget if an accident happens. But, a savings guards you against more than just auto accidents. It protects you from most minor, and some major, financial setbacks.
Let’s say you lose your job. With savings, you can stay on budget even when you have no income.
Be More Articulate About Your Goals
Some people find this easier than others. Be more articulate about what you want. Delve deep into your personal values. Prioritize what’s important to you. Do you want to take an annual trip to some far-off country? Do you want to work from home? What goals do you have that are challenging to accomplish, but not impossible to achieve?
Create A Plan
Making a spending plan is what trips up most people. Writing something down tends to force people to look at an uncomfortable financial situation, which most people want to avoid. But, this is a must, and it’s the only way to get a firm understanding of how much you make, how much you can spend, and save. Write down your debt payments, savings, household costs, and other items like entertainment, holiday, and vacation funds.
Then, set spending limits for each category. This will help you limit what you spend so you don’t go “over budget.”
It seems weird to resist buying things on sale, but think about it: how many sale items were you planning to buy in the first place? The idea of the sale, from the store’s perspective, isn’t to help you save money. It’s to help the store get rid of overstocked merchandise. So, unless you were already planning on buying a particular item, skip the sale.
Rewards cards can also be enticing, but again, they’re just another way retailers try to get you to spend more money than you might want to.
Track Your Spending Habits
Keep track of your expenses every week and reconcile them with your bank balance. This can help you better understand where you stand financially. It’s a simple thing, but it’s something most people don’t do.
Sites, like Mint.com, can help you sort and organize your financial data. You have to be willing to sign up for the service, and trust them with your bank login credentials, but it makes it more convenient for you to sort through expenses.
Prices are not always firm. In fact, many businesses willingly negotiate with customers. If you’ve seen a lower price in another store, ask the business if they’re willing to come down on the price. What’s the worst that can happen? They might say “no.” But, at least you tried.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
Credit cards often carry the highest-interest of all your debts. While it’s tempting to get “quick wins” by paying off the smallest balance first, paying off the highest interest first results in the least amount of interest due. It’s all about thinking long-term. Many people get emotionally caught up in the idea of paying off their smallest debt first. It’s a “psychological win,” but not a reality-based one. While it’s true that, either way, you’re paying off your debts, you will end up paying more interest by not paying the highest-interest balance first.
Courtney Parkin is a busy working Mom who has a budget to stick to if the family are to survive financially. She writes about family life, finances and more in her spare time, usually early Sunday mornings when it’s still peaceful!
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