If you read our earlier publication on starting a budget and we're inspired to track your own spending, you may now be facing the challenges of sticking to a budget. It could be that the amount you set for your ’food expenses’ has you stressing about cooking at home all the time, or maybe the sudden economic shift has left you constantly yearning for a night out, even though your credit card debt is still an issue. Whatever the case, as your financial and wellness advisors, were here to help. Read on for strategies to get your budgeting back on track!
Use cash when making any purchases
The credit card is the impulsive buyer’s box of matches, and its ease of use can lead to ill-advised purchases. The solution? Don’t give yourself the opportunity to use it. This means taking it out of your wallet, and not touching it unless you’re paying off any outstanding debts. Don’t forget to clear your online payment information as well, for all the eBay, Kijiji, and Amazon enthusiasts. If you know that you won’t be able to control yourself, give the card to a family member for safe-keeping. Using only cash will act as a visual reminder to yourself on why you’re budgeting. You won’t be as inclined to splurge when you have to physically give your money away, as opposed to buying online or even using a debit card. Try implementing a jar for organizing any spare change that you accumulate - seeing the coins build up is an easy to feel good about your money-saving progress.
Re-evaluate your budget often
Though a budget is established to help you stabilize and build your finances, and cut on needless spending, it can really only be successful if you’re realistic with those cuts. For example, setting aside an unrealistically low amount for your entertainment expenses is a recipe for failure. Be honest with your needs, and try to make realistic changes wherever you can. Check in on your budget after the first month (or the first week), and if you’re overspending in certain categories, re-evaluate. It’s almost 100% certain that your first budget won’t be perfect, and that’s part of the challenge. Look for areas that you’re performing well in, and allocate the excess budget to sections that are causing you problems. If you create a relief system within your spending habits, you’ll have an answer to every problem you encounter!
Don’t go it alone
There’s strength in numbers. Budgeting with a buddy, or an online community can motivate you to make the sacrifices necessary for a balanced budget. Talk with friends or family who might be interested in saving some money and see if they’re willing to start budgeting as well. And, of course, don’t hesitate to contact us with any of your budgeting questions! Our financial experts would love to hear your budgeting progress and share some of their insight.