Creating A Budget and Sticking To It
Do you find yourself constantly worrying about money? Are your finances in a mess? Did you create a budget, write everything down, and still have no clue where all of your money went? Well…you are not alone! Creating a budget and sticking to it is not as hard as you may think.
Many Americans find themselves in the same situation month after month. This is stressful for you, your family, and your health.
If you are not sure where to start on getting your finances back in order, let me help. My family went from a two-income family to a one-income family about five years ago. The struggle was real, but we were determined to make it work. We had to create a budget. Yes, a budget!! I know you are thinking– NO..not the “B” word, and I am right there with you!
Since creating a monthly budget, things have gotten easier at our house. This has been a great way to keep up with and track our money on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Is it fun? No. Is it helpful? Yes.
Looking back, I wish I had been better at budgeting my money. I wish I had been a wiser spender. I wish I had not bought some of the items I bought. I wish….. The list could go on and on. Sound familiar? Now, I have a son getting ready to move into his own home. I am in the process of teaching him how to create a budget and “hopefully” stick to it! I am encouraging him to have a savings account (with money in it) before he moves into his home. There are always those unexpected expenses.
I have created some tips and tricks that have helped me with my finances at my home. Just to be upfront and honest, I did not implement these all at one time. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself by trying to implement all of these tips and tricks at one time; take it slow and easy.
I have listed 8 Tips on Creating a Budget and Sticking To It. I hope some of these will work for you and your family.
1. Get a Binder or Notebook
This is a must. You need a way to document your spending, debt, and savings. You can get a 3-ring binder or a spiral notebook. I have always used a spiral notebook, and it has worked for me. Some people prefer a binder with tabs and pockets to include bills and important papers. Just use what works for you.
2. Create a Budget
I used my previous monthly budget to set up my new monthly budget. I know what bills need to be paid each month (power, water, phone…), and those items are the first on my list. I also plan for the holidays and special events that we might have going on for that month. For example, December (presents, wrapping paper, party food), Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Vacation Time…..
Make your budget realistic and plan ahead for birthdays and vacations.
3. Use Cash
Use cash when possible. When all of the money is gone, then the spending has to stop.
4. Eliminate Credit Cards
This one can be hard. I personally have not eliminated my credit cards. I have two cards, and I keep one of the cards paid in full each month, and I make a monthly payment for the other card. I am working on paying this card off in full, but it is taking me a while to do so. If I need to use my credit card during the month (I only use it during emergencies), then I try to only use the card I keep paid in full. Just keep paying on that card, and you will eventually get it paid off!
5. Be a Wise Shopper
Clip coupons- Coupon shopping can save you money, especially if the store has double coupon days.
Comparison shop-Shop the internet or local sales papers for ads, coupons, or weekly deals. Grocery stores will usually “show case” several items on sale for each week. Compare the prices and shop at the store where you get the best price.
6. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
Cooking at home will save you money, plus it is better for you to eat a home-cooked meal. Eating at home will eliminate the cost of take-out food or restaurant expenses.
Make your own coffee instead of stopping to buy coffee.
Buy makeup, beauty supplies, and other necessities when they go on sale.
Pay your bills on time to avoid late charges.
7. Build an Emergency Fund
You need to have an emergency fund or a savings account in place. It has been suggested to have at least 6 months’ salary saved in case of emergencies. This might include car repair, replacing a hot water heater, taking the dog to the vet, or anything else that might be a surprise. This is something that will take discipline to do and will take a while to build up. But do it!
8. Live a Simple Life
Don’t let money or lack of money control your happiness. Don’t stress over this budget during the month. You work hard for your money each payday! Work in some fun time and time for yourself and your family. It will make sticking to a budget a lot easier.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t stick to your budget some months. I understand–Life Happens! If you fall off the wagon, just dust yourself off and try again the next month.
Having a budget is a guide, so don’t let it ultimately dictate your life. Be in control of your life and your finances, and you will be happy, and eventually, you will have a budget you can live with and have your finances under control.