8 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Budget
Sticking to a budget can be challenging for anybody. Most of us start the month off with the best intentions of saving money and managing our spending; however, at the end of the month, many of us find out that we have exceeded our spending limit.
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stick to your budget and become more diligent about your spending habits.
1. Pay with cash.
For some people, credit cards make it too easy to overspend. Their convenience has benefits for some, but could be a temptation for others. If you stick to paying for everything with cash, it can make a difference in your spending habits. If you choose this method, it is best to only spend the cash that you have previously planned in your budget.
2. Use coupons and (carefully) take advantage of discounts.
Using coupons or other store discounts is a great way to save money. You can find coupons online, and in magazines & newspapers. Some stores also have daily, weekly, and monthly coupons and discount codes that are available after you download the store's mobile app. Additionally, pay attention to when stores have sales for certain items, departments, or even the whole store. There may even be discounts available for you to splurge on things in your "wants" category. Be careful, many stores tempt customers with offers and discounts on things that may cause you to overspend. Avoid giving into these temptations to help stick to your budget.
3. Make a shopping list.
A great way to avoid spending extra money is to make a list of only the items you need before going on a shopping trip. If you make a list of all the things you need to purchase and how much those items cost, you will have a better idea of how much you need to spend each month. Also, limiting your spending to prioritizing your "needs" over your "wants" may help you reduce your overall spending.
4. Shop alone.
If you shop with your family, someone is bound to find at least one item they want you to purchase that is not on the list. Giving in to these purchases can provide temporary happiness, but can also force you to spend over your budget. An excellent way to avoid this is to either shop alone or set a certain amount of money aside for such requests. Similarly, going shopping with friends can give way to impulse buying; save those shopping trips for when you have enough saved to buy a few "wants".
5. Track your spending.
Many small purchases can amount to a large sum of money spent by the end of the month. Spending a dollar here and there might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your budget over time. The best way to overcome this problem is to track your spending. If you keep track of all expenditures, no matter how small they may seem, you may be surprised to see how much you can reduce your overall spending. Consider our Online and Mobile Banking for automatic updates.
6. Limit shopping trips.
If you shop frequently, the chances of you buying non-essential items will also increase. To prevent this from happening, you could assign one day for all of your weekly shopping and buy everything that you need on that day. Additionally, be intentional with your time away from home; the more often you go out, the more likely you are to spend money.
7. Set up automatic savings.
Automatic savings is an easy way to save, especially for a big goal. Set up an automatic draft or transfer so that your money goes right into your savings account. That way, you don't misspend on non-essential things.
8. Set up Bill Pay.
Make paying the bills easier for you and your budget by setting up online Bill Pay for recurring items. This is great for bills that come out to the same amount every month, like a car payment. Additionally, this ensures that your important bills get paid.