Sticking to a budget can seem tricky. However, if you’re looking to get out of debt, invest extra income, or simply get ahead in your finances, then learning how to build a budget is key to making those changes happen.
A budget should be a reflection of your bigger intentions as well. If you maintain a well designed and cared for budget, you can see how that can be reflected in your ideas about how to grow and achieve all of your personal and financial goals.
Once you enter the adult world and workforce, you have to decide how you are going to spend your money as well as how you are going to pay your bills. We budget for a reason. Some refer to it as a budgeting “why”, in that the reasons you budget will determine where you decide to save and where you decide to spend. So once you find your “why”, it will vastly help to inform you as you spend and save.
Perhaps you love the feeling of financial security from being on a budget. Or maybe you are working to teach your kids the best way to manage money. Or perhaps you are saving for college, a home purchase, or working to get out of debt. Whatever your “why” is, as long as it’s compelling enough, it will keep you on track to staying on that structured budget.
Setting You Up For Success
The most effective budgets set you up for success. To stick to your budget, let go of your infinitive wish list and work on getting realistic about how much money you’re likely spending in any given category.
Look at taking your monthly expenses and breaking down how much you are spending and where it’s going. Get as specific as you can, as the more information you have the better informed you will be on how to modify your spending habits and stick to your budget.
Make Your Budget Easy To Stick To
The next step in learning how to build a budget comes from making every dollar work for you.
For example, instead of aimlessly shopping in the grocery store for your weekly groceries deciding what you want when you want it, make a predetermined list of your absolute needs and how much you can reasonably spend. From there, do the math as you shop, so you’ll know if you have any room for additional items before you get to the checkout stand.
Set Up Auto Bill Pay
If you have a goal to save up for a vacation or a new car, set up an automatic payment that is withdrawn every month so that you don’t have to think about trying to put money aside. And while you’re at it, set up your bills on auto-pay as well, so as to make sure that they are all paid directly from your bank account and on time. This will not only keep you on track with your spending but also improve your credit by paying your bills on time!
Plan Your Meals
Another great way to build a budget is to plan out what meals you’re going to be having for the week. By planning out full meals and how and when you are going to eat, you are removing the impulse purchases as well as the extravagant restaurant meals that can derail your master budget plan.
Break Up Your Big Spending
You may have lots of exciting entertainment plans for the week and throughout the whole month, but you may end up spending your entire month’s entertainment budget in a single week if you don’t plan ahead. So take the time to mentally divide up how you will spend your recreation money and allow yourself only a set amount each week. This way, when the next month comes you’ll have the funds to play with and not eat into your bill-paying money.
Calendar It Out
Write as much down as you can. Having the visual aid of a calendar or a list can help immensely when working to stick to a budget. You’ll also be able to plan ahead if you notice that you’ve got weddings or birthdays on the horizon. This will help you strategize how to pay for what and where you can and can’t afford to spend your money. Remember, the more information you have, the more options you will have in terms of determining how and where you can spend your money.
Remember to be forgiving of financial things that come up, but try to remain consistent when learning how to build your budget. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll start to see savings and finally, get to afford those things you’re working towards.
For more ideas on how to build and stick to a budget, check out Cash Factory USA today!