Yeah yeah, we all know setting up a budget is important, but something often overlooked is how important it is to motivate yourself to stay on track and actually follow through with the budget.
I have created myself many budgets over the years, often only to be let down by splurging on one of the expenses I promised not to (e.g. taking my lunch but still going out with work people and eating, effectively spending twice as much on lunch!).
Today we are looking at some of the useful tips you can remember to help you stay on budget.
1. Add your savings account as a bill on your budget
Once your budget is created, ensure that one of your expenses listed is paying your savings account. As we have said before, treat it like a bill that must be paid and don’t even think about it. Act like you will get a fine if you don’t deposit!
After doing this for many months, I am excited about checking in and seeing how much I have saved. The interest will be there and I am hoping for a nice little surprise!
2. Try and use cash over cards
If you live off cash during your budget period, it is much harder to hand over pure cash for a splurge purchase as you won’t have any more money for the time! For example, you see a handbag or belt you like, sure it is only $40 and you tell yourself you deserve it – BUT it will severely limit your cash on hand. Wouldn’t you rather a train ticket to work for the week??
Plus, cards can be expensive if you don’t use your own banks ATM.
3. Get rid of the bad habits, quickly!
You don’t need a glass of wine EVERY night, you don’t need to smoke (easier said than done I know!) and you should really consider what dropping these bad habits could do for your budget. Maybe it would let you buy that belt above?
I strongly suggest considering dropping these habits, both for your health and your finances.
4. Get the family involved, it will help motivation
Having a support network is vitally important to keeping your budget alive. Share your thoughts, concerns and ideas on budgeting with your family and you will be much more likely to succeed in staying on budget.
5. Pay your debt down when you can
If you have multiple cards, firstly try and consolidate into one low interest credit card. If this isn’t possible, focus on the cards with the highest interest and pay more than the minimum amount each month to that card. If you can’t do this for all cards, pay the lions share of your money to the high interest card and the minimum allowed on all others.
6. Remember to keep your receipts handy
When you first created your budget spreadsheet, you would ideally have kept records of your spending prior to arrive at your expected expenses tab. A good tip is to not stop doing this after the budget is made, your spending is ever changing and in turn your money budget should also be ever changing.
7. Check your accounts regularly
You should login to your internet banking daily and monitor what is going in and out. You would be surprised how much fraud and accidental purchases go on under the radar. It is up to you to notify your bank or speak up when you find an issue.
8. Check your spending at the end of each week
Do you think you will make it to the end of the month? Taking a second to double check everything you have spent on is the best way to not be caught short a week or so before the end of the month. Check for trends with your spending, look for items you can cut the following week to help keep that money active (active in the sense it can be use for more important things than your ham/cheese/tomato on turkish you order for breakfast!).
9. Is your savings getting pillaged frequently?
Are you withdrawing money your promise to save? Get a Raboplus account, it is VERY hard to withdraw the savings without having to wait a few days and enter a million security codes! The moral is, get a different account and ensure you can’t just easily transfer money from it on a split second.
10. Remember, sometimes costs can pop up out of nowhere.
In your budget, you should have a rainy day fund or emergency fund. Things simply pop out of nowhere that involve spending money and it will help you prepare for these. Nothing worse than the feeling I got this month when I realised my car was now 1 year old and in turn required new rego, new CTP greenslip, renewed insurance and a service. Talk about a budget blow out!
Check out Savings Guide’s Budget Spreadsheet
We have released our own budget spreadsheet that looks great, works easily and can be as intricate or simple as you want. We hope you liked this article!