Want to learn how to write a budget that you can actually stick to?
It’s no secret that writing a budget isn’t the hardest part about budgeting. Sticking to your budget and actually following through with it is where most people struggle. Add in unexpected expenses and impulse spending? Most people are ready to throw in the towel all together and end up believing budgeting is just a waste of time.
When you learn how to actually stick to the budget that you set, amazing things happen. You start to gain control over your money as the way you see your budget changes. This lays the ground work for a strong financial foundation, which is the only way you’re able truly achieve your financial goals. In this episode, I share 5 tips that help you stick to your budget. The best part? You can actually start implementing them — starting today!
Tip #1: Keep a buffer in your budget
Most budgets fail because we expect perfection. However, perfection is impossible. Instead of giving up on the process, it’s time to expect the unexpected expenses that will pop up. You can do this by adding a buffer to your budget.
When you write your budget each month, add a buffer as a line item. This buffer will help cover any of those small, unexpected expenses that pop up and tend to get you off track. You can add a buffer to your budget by simply adding the word “buffer” as a line item in your budget. Assign an amount for your buffer (our family prefers to add a $100-$200 buffer to every budget). Adding a buffer to your budget will help you stay on budget even when you overspend a little in a few categories.
Tip #2: Stay out of the stores
When I first started budgeting, I had to have what I like to call a “Target Detox.” Essentially, I stayed completely out of Target. Why? Because I had zero self-control inside The Motherland. I knew that if I went into the store, I’d be tempted, so why put myself in that situation? This might seem extreme to some people, but I always told myself that Target would still be there when I was ready and willing to return. It wasn’t going anywhere. That helped me stick to my detox so I could spend more time developing healthier spending habits.
If you’re trying to stick to your budget, go to the store as little as possible. This extends to places like the grocery store and even online shopping. Most people overspend at the grocery store and justify it easily. Instead, only go to the grocery store once a week so you don’t have multiple opportunities to spend money that you hadn’t planned on spending. You could even consider ordering your groceries online so you don’t impulse shop while you’re there. Overall, you’ll spend less and stick to your budget if you are literally not in a place to spend money. Your wallet and budget will thank you.
Tip #3: Check your calendar before you make a budget
Many people struggle with sticking to their budget because they are caught off guard by commitments such a birthday parties, anniversaries, and school functions.
Before you sit down to write your budget, check your calendar. Be sure to check for any celebrations, birthdays, school parties, or social outings that you might attend. Plan for these expenses in advance and budget for them so you don’t blow your budget!
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had something “unexpected” come up and I felt like my budget was off track for the entire month. Once I was off track with my budget, I felt like it was a waste of time to keep budgeting. But if I’m being completely honest, most of those events were not unexpected at all. I just didn’t set aside the time to check my calendar before I wrote my budget. Your budget doesn’t have to be completely thrown off track just because your kids had a birthday party to attend or your friend wants to go out for drinks.
Check your calendar in advance for any and all expenses that might pop up! This will help you stick to your budget during the month.
Tip #4: Track your spending…DAILY!
If you want to be extremely knowledgeable about a topic, you’ll make a point to learn more about that topic every day. If you want to stick to your budget, you also must track where your money is going!
Did you know there’s actually a difference between budgeting and tracking? Knowing the difference and successfully implementing BOTH into your money routine is key to achieving your financial goals. In fact, I have an entire episode you can access here to learn more about this very important topic!
Tracking your spending every day forces you to face your financial truth and really take a long look at your habits. Where are you spending the most money? What are you purchasing that you didn’t budget for? Can you add anything your budget next month to help ensure that you stay on track?
Tip #5: Find an accountability partner
It is so important to have an accountability partner when you are really trying to stick to a budget for the first (or fifth!) time. Your accountability partner can be a spouse, family member, or even a friend!
When you feel like giving up, or you need guidance, turn to your accountability partner for help and encouragement. Celebrate both your big, and small wins with this person. Be honest and authentic when it comes to your struggles so they can encourage you. Having someone to walk with on this journey can make getting your money under control so much easier.
So there you have it, 5 tips that I actually implement in my daily life in order to keep myself on track with budgeting.
If you’re like me, you may find yourself wanting more than just a few tips to keep yourself on track with your budget. I personally needed a step-by-step process with visuals to help me really understand how to write a budget that makes sense with my lifestyle and my financial goals.
That’s why I created a 4-step framework to writing a budget you can actually stick to WITHOUT sacrificing the things you love. This is the same framework that I teach inside of my exclusive monthly membership, the Inspired Budget Inner Circle. I have a feeling that it’s going to inspire you as well and give you the exact steps you need to write a budget for your best life. Plus – this training comes with a free workbook! Hello fellow visual learners! Sign up below for this FREE class!