So you’ve finally managed to create a budget for yourself or your family. You might think that this is it—you will automatically get amazing savings—but you’re wrong. In order for your budgeting to work, you have to actually stick to your limits, which is the hardest part of it all. So how does one avoid temptations and stick to a budget? Here’s how we do it and how you can do it too:
Install a helpful app
If you’re a visual person that likes technology, then install a helpful budgeting app on your smartphone and enjoy all the benefits of this type of budgeting. Your app will track all of your spendings in real-time and allow you to access your budget limits and standings wherever you are. In most cases, budgeting apps can sync with your laptop, tablet and other devices like your spouse’s phone, so all of you can stay on track when it comes to spending. To prevent overspending, simply check your app and see whether you have enough money in the designated category to spend.
Opt for a lower credit card limit
It’s very easy to get carried away with a credit card that has a high limit. The bill can grow quickly and get very hard to pay down. Instead, try to reduce the temptation by opting for a lower credit card limit. If you pay it off more frequently, you’ll avoid getting trapped by debt. It’s smart to stick to a limit that can be paid off in one go (with your emergency fund or savings). This way, you’ll protect your credit score and cover your purchases without any interest (or with minimal interest).
Cut fees and maintenance costs
Do you have a subscription to Apple Music and Spotify? How about Netflix, Disney + and HBO Go? Do you actually need subscriptions to all of those? The answer is ‘of course not’. Even though each of these services costs only $10, these fees add up. The same goes for your car. If you’re living in a big urban center, ask yourself whether your car is a necessity or a necessary expense. Maybe you can sell your car, get some money into your budget and forget all about expensive gas and registration fees. And with practical car share programs, you can still have access to a car when you actually need it for longer trips and special occasions. When you’re done using the borrowed car, just leave it in the allocated spot and that’s it!
Save on food
Some people get carried away when shopping for clothes, some struggle with entertainment costs, but we all tend to overspend on food. Food is not only a convenience but also a necessity, so if you’re not careful, your food bill can add up quickly (especially with prices of food going up all the time). When you create a good food budget and include all groceries, it’s still cheaper to cook at home. And you don’t have to cook every meal at home—even a few home-cooked meals can help you save up. Buying in bulk, meal planning and good prep can help you stick to your food budget and even allow you to have some money left by the end of the month so you can have a nice dinner out.
Pay with cash in certain situations
If you struggle with certain purchases, try to go cash only. For many people, going cash only is not realistic, and if you’re one of these people, you can switch to cash in just your problem category. For instance, if you struggle with controlling your entertainment budget or your fashion purchases, you can decide to pay for these expenses only with cash. Every month or week, take out a certain amount in cash and once you spend it, that’s it. This can be of great help when you’re trying to stick to your budget in all areas, even the problematic ones.
Sleep on big expenses
Some big expenses are necessary for your household and you shouldn’t feel guilty when buying things you need. However, when buying things that you don’t need, make sure to take a week to think about your purchases. Does the purchase come with monthly payments? Will it mess with your budget? Will you need to rethink your savings plan? Will this purchase improve your life? Make sure that any big purchase is making your life better instead of simply putting extra strain on your budget. If after a week, you still want to buy that thing, it means that you actually need it and you can add it to your cart.
Good spending habits can truly change your life, so try to develop them as soon as you can. It is difficult to stick to a budget. It requires a lot of discipline, but with these tricks, you’ll manage to stay true to your budget and enjoy many amazing savings benefits in the future.