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So you have finally created a monthly budget and update it every month but yet struggle to actually stick to it. Or you haven’t even created a budget yet because you don’t see anyway you actually could stick to it, so why bother?
I completely understand. Staying on track with a budget is hard. It takes a lot of work and discipline and frankly, just doesn’t seem all that fun.
But the truth is, with a few tips and tricks, we can all become better money managers by sticking to our monthly budgets.
Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you get started:
#1 Use a Monthly Budget App, Template or Worksheet
There are many different ways to create a budget.
You can pull out a blank piece of paper and write it all down. You can use a spreadsheet or budgeting template. You can also use a budgeting app. What is important is that you find the method that works best for you.
I have gone from using a budgeting template (that I created in Excel) to now using a budget app.
The budgeting template worked well for me for quite awhile. It was easy to adjust and make any necessary changes. However, I eventually decided that I wanted something a little more automated and so I started using Dave Ramsey’s budgeting app EveryDollar.
I love EveryDollar because it automatically imports your information from one month into the next. This makes creating next month’s budget so easy!
Although there is a paid version where you can connect the app to your bank account, I choose to use the free version and record all transactions myself. I am currently paying off debt so I will take a few more minutes to do this myself so as not spend any extra money. I also feel that entering the transactions myself gives me more ownership of my money. In fact, it is often painful because I realize just how much money I am spending when I do this, which helps me spend less.
If there is any downside to the app, I would say that it would be that it doesn’t let you split transactions among different months, as I often like to do when I shop at places like Costco. But who knows, maybe this is an available feature with the paid version.
Overall, I highly recommend this app if you are looking for one to try! You can use it both on a computer or your phone.
There are also many other very good apps out there if EveryDollar isn’t the one for you. Experiment with a few and see what you like best.
If you are not interested in using an app at this time, I have a budgeting template that you can give a try or you can create your own or just write down your budget on a blank piece of paper. We’re not all going to prefer the same method so finding the one that you love the most will help you to better stick to your budget.
#2 Record Your Transactions Right Away
It is important to record every transaction you make because it is the only way to know whether or not you are going over your budget and/or how much money you have left to spend in a month.
If you are not using a budgeting app that allows you to connect the app to your bank account such as EveryDollar (or like me you’re just choosing not to connect it), then you absolutely must manually record all of your transactions as soon as possible. If you wait to record them, you will likely lose receipts or forget about money that was spent and then your budget will not be accurate and you will have no way of actually sticking to it.
It only takes a few minutes to record what you spend. And if you’re using the EveryDollar app then you can just add them on your phone right after you hand over your cash. So easy! If you’re not using an app, then you may have to create your own way to record transactions. You will want to make sure that you keep track of which budget category the transaction goes into.
(By the way, I don’t get any money for recommending EveryDollar. I just really love using it!)
#3 Give Yourself A Goal
In order to stick to your budget, you need to give yourself a reason to want to stick to it.
Your reason may very well be different from the guy two houses down, but I want you to really think about what will motivate you to stay on track.
Some possible goals can be:
- to pay off debt
- to save money
- to make a big purchase
- to not be living paycheck to paycheck anymore
Find one or two goals that are going to keep you motivated to stick to your budget and then post them somewhere so you see them everyday and often.
If your goal is to pay off debt, write “pay off debt” on a post it note and stick it to your bathroom mirror. Or place it inside your wallet so you see it as soon as you’re about to take out cash to buy something. Who knows, it may stop you from making an unnecessary purchase!
Find the method to be reminded of your goal(s) that works best for you and then make sure it motivates you to stick to your budget.
#4 Have Regular Budget Meetings
I love to have budget meetings with my husband because it helps me to know we are on the same page and working toward the same goal.
If we never talked about our finances, we would be all over the place and most likely trying to stick to two different budgets.
Have regular meetings where you discuss your personal finances with your spouse or whomever else you maybe sharing a budget with and make sure you are on the same page. Talk about where you might be struggling and come up with ways together to overcome the struggle.
If possible, create the budget together. Then you are both taking ownership of it and are most definitely in it together.
If only one of you wants to create it, that is OK. I love doing the budget in our household but it is not my husband’s favorite thing to do. So I create it and then we talk about it.
#5 Reward Yourself
I did already mention having a goal in mind to help motivate you to stick to your budget, but there is nothing wrong with smaller rewards along the way as well.
If you stick to your budget this month, give yourself some extra spending money in next month’s budget. Or let yourself have more time to relax and binge watch Netflix. Or maybe even give yourself a reason to take a day off from your second job.
Just be smart about whatever reward you choose and be sure it won’t negatively affect your budget.
Sticking to a budget can be really, really hard. And believe me, I know!
We often struggle to stick to our budget as well as we’d like to but we have gotten so much better at it. And every month when we do well with it I feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement for what the future holds for us by becoming better money managers.
I truly believe that creating and sticking to a budget is so important in order to have less overwhelm in our lives, because when our finances are under control, we have so much less stress. It frees us up for so much so we can do more, give more, help more, save more, and just BE more in any way we want.
So if you have been struggling to even begin creating a budget, get started today! That is the first step. You can use my guide to help you if you’d like. Then use the tips in this post to help you stick with it.
If you have been budgeting for awhile but rarely follow it, then use these tips to help you get on track today. Just remember that it takes discipline and hard work but is so worth it!
What helps you stick to your budget? Please comment below. I would love to hear from you and your tips could help someone else!
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