When you’re first creating a budget and working to stick to it, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You have to sit down and think out all the different ways you expect to bring in money. You have to go bill-by-bill to figure out exactly what you have to pay. You have to figure out your timeline for income and expenses. But most of all, you have to follow it. Looking for some tricks to make your budget easier to follow so you can save more money? Read on:
Create a New Budget Each Month
Part of the reason why it’s so stressful to try to follow a budget for the year is that it’s almost impossible to plan that far in advance. Instead, take time at the end of each month to create a new budget for the following month. This way, you’ll be able to have a better idea of what your upcoming expenses will be, as well as a more realistic picture of your income for the month. You’ll also be able to think ahead in a manageable way and figure out what expenses you’ll be able to cut just over the next few weeks.
Give Yourself Some Spending Money
Does budgeting feel like a diet? Just like if you were trying to lose weight, give yourself a financial “cheat day.” This doesn’t mean take a day to blow your whole paycheck. Instead, budget in some spending money to cover some things that you enjoy doing. This may mean a coffee in a fancy café once a week or a ticket to a concert you know is coming up. By giving yourself a little wiggle room, you won’t feel like you are sacrificing and will be more likely to stick to your overall budget and plan of saving money.
Make Budgeting a Family Affair
Just because you are struggling to dig out of debt doesn’t mean your kids will too. One key to creating a smart financial plan for your family is to involve your children at the start. Not only will they learn valuable lessons about managing and saving money, but they will also understand why you can’t buy them something at every store or why they need to do jobs around the house to “earn” their spending money. They’ll feel included and, quite often, happy to help.
Get Into the Habit
Habits can take time to form, so cut yourself a break if the first few months are a challenge to stay within your budget. You have to figure out what works for you as you establish a routine. You may find that your expenses are more than you first thought. The more you fine-tune your budget and stay with it, the easier it will be to save money.
Find a Format That Works for You
Not every budgeting process looks the same. Some people download apps on their smartphones to track in real-time every time they spend money. Other people prefer to save paper receipts and write down their expenses in a notebook once a week. Find a method that won’t feel like such a chore. Eventually, it will become second nature and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save.
Saving money and creating a budget are important steps for getting out of debt. Is it enough? If you need more help paying off your debt, log on to Refi.com’s debt consolidation page to connect with an expert today.