Do you ever have really good intentions of sticking with something, but somehow you end up getting off course? When you try to budget, I swear, the universe knows and it tries to mess you up anyway it can.
Do you want to stick to your budget? Be prepared to put up a bit of a fight. The second you decide to start living with a plan, old Murphy is going to come out of the woodwork. Suddenly anything that can go wrong; will go wrong. It’s just what happens.
Trying to save for $1,000 emergency fund?? Whoops! There goes your AC unit! This is exactly what happened to us…in July…..9 months pregnant. Lord, help us all!
In addition to those uncontrollable outside forces, you are going to have your own behaviors to deal with. If you aren’t used to telling yourself, “No,” you are going to face challenges along the way.
Temptations are around every corner and ready to get you to spend your money on things you don’t need!
Instead of panicking when you are struggling to stick with your budget, there are 5 super simple things you can do to help you stay committed!
1. Utilize sinking funds.
Sinking funds are these awesome mini saving accounts you can use for expenses you expect to happen, but they don’t happen every single month. When you have sinking funds in place for things like:
- Life insurance
- Home repairs, etc.
Sinking funds will help you stick to your budget because you will actually be prepared for those expected expenses you just forget about. This money acts as an emergency fund except you were planning on spending it.
2. Create a buffer.
In addition to a $1,000 emergency fund, it is really nice to have a little buffer in your account. I don’t mean you should have $10,000 just hanging out in your checking account (unless you are out of debt, then, by all means).
During our budgeting journey, I ended up leaving a $400-$500 buffer within our checking account. The money isn’t in there to use. I actually forgot it was in there for quite a while. The purpose of this was just to offer some support if I messed up initially when we were figuring things out.
Your life will be a lot less stressful if you have a few extra hundred dollars just hanging out to catch one of your oopsies if needed. Do not think about this money or count it as part of your money you can spend for your month. That is not the point.
This money is purely to act as a safety net if you screw something up while you are learning to budget well.
3. Create a saving incentive.
If you are a spender by nature, this will be a great way for you to stick to your budget. Figure out what you want to buy if you save money. It could be a simple home decoration, a candle, bath salts, a t-shirt, etc. Give yourself a reason to spend less than budgeted.
For every category you spend less than planned, you can put that money toward what you really want. This is a great way to encourage yourself to stick to the budget. You actually get a prize at the end of it!
I love Scentsy bars! My incentive for staying under budget is getting to put some money in a Scentsy fund so I can make my house smell like you just walked into a quaint bakery with fresh cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven. Mmmmmm…….yes, please!
4. Keep it real.
This is like rookie mistake number one. When you first start budgeting, you are inclined to just go nuts and try to spend the least amount of money as possible. This can be done to the point of it just not being realistic.
Do not set yourself up for failure! If you know you will spend $100 on toiletries and cosmetics for the month, do not set your budget for $50. It will not work! You have to be realistic if you are trying to stick to your budget.
If you undercut all of your spendings beyond what you are actually able to do, it will make you want to quit or go the other extreme and overspend in every area of your budget.
Set yourself up for success and budget what you know you will actually spend.
5. Get support.
I will always come back to this being one of the most important things you can do for yourself to ensure you stick to your budget. You need to have a support system. Budgeting can be really hard, especially if it is new to you.
Having a support system (person, family, group, etc.), is super important to help you stay on track and stick to your budget.
Tell them what your goals are, why you are doing this and what you need from them during times of weakness. Find someone who understands this and can help you stay on track to reach your goals. Not everyone is a good support system.
You don’t want the person who encourages you to buy the cute top when you don’t have the money for it. You want the person who reminds you how much closer you will be to saving your emergency fund when you put the shirt back on the rack.
Budgeting is such a test of your willpower and self-control. We all have moments of weakness, but there are ways to stay strong and stick to your budget. If you have sinking funds and a buffer in place, create a saving incentive, stay realistic and get support, you can definitely stick to your budget!
Nothing will be able to stop you!
Do you have any other tricks to stick to your budget?
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