9 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Budget

Budget

Sticking to a budget can be difficult for anybody. Most of us start the month off with the best intentions of saving money, however, at the end of the month, many of us find out that we have exceeded our spending limit. This is common scenario.

There are a lot of reasons why one might overspend. For instance, splurging on a particular item, or seeing different temptations while shopping. However, one must realize that it might be time to adopt some new habits and strategies to save money and stay within budget.

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stick to your budget and become more diligent about your spending habits:

1. Pay Cash
For some people, credit cards are too convenient and may tempt some to spend more money than they have. If you stick to paying for everything with cash, it can make a difference in your spending habits. Carry only the cash that you have previously allotted in your budget. Spending a large sum of money while you’re paying cash can help you rethink your decision.

2. Use Coupons
Using coupons is a great way to save money. There are many stores that accept coupons. You can find free coupons in magazines, newspapers and even online. Some stores even have their own free apps that have daily, weekly and monthly coupons that are available to you after you download the store’s mobile app.

3. Make a List
A great way to avoid spending extra money is to make a list of only the items you need. They can be grocery items, household items, gas or utility bills. If you make a list of all the things you need to purchase and how much those items cost, you will have a great idea of how much you need to spend each month.

4. Shop Alone
If you shop with your family, someone is bound to find at least one item they want to purchase that is not on the shopping list. Agreeing to make these purchases can make others in your family happy, but can also force you to spend over your budget. A good way to avoid this is to either shop alone, or set a certain amount of money aside for such requests.

5. Negotiate Prices
Try to negotiate the prices of things you buy. Some retailers will sell items at a discounted rate. The worst thing that could happen is the retailer doesn’t agree to discount the price.

6. Resist Advertisements
Many stores tempt customers with offers and discounts that may seem harmless at the time, but in the long run, these deals can damage your budget. Avoid giving into these temptations to help stick to your budget.

7. Track Your Spending
Many small purchases can amount to a large sum of money by the end of the month. Spending a dollar here or a dollar there might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your budget over time. The best way to overcome this problem is to track your spending. You can do this online, with a spreadsheet or write your expenses on paper. If you keep track of all expenditures, no matter how small they may seem, you may be surprised to see how much you can reduce your overall spending.

8. Limit Shopping Trips
The less you go out, the less you’re bound to spend. If you shop frequently, then the chances of you buying non-essential items can also increase. To prevent this from happening, you could assign one day for all of your weekly shopping and buy everything that you need on that day.

9. Log Expenses Frequently
Instead of logging your expenses at the end of the month, you could try logging them daily. Ask for a receipt any time you buy something. This way you will be able to track your spending activity and get a better understanding of your spending habits.

With a few changes to your spending habits, you can learn to stick to a budget. You can avoid not only unnecessary expenses, but also increase your savings. By adopting these tips, you can not only stay within budget, but can also save a lot of money.

Guest Blog: 5 Steps to a New Financial You in 2017

America Saves

We’re pleased to share the following guest blog from AmericaSaves.org.

Holiday shoppers have been careful each season to make their lists and check them twice. Budgets have become more discerning and savers have become better planners for their holiday spending, prioritizing savings along the way. According to a September 2016 report, two out of five millennial shoppers got a head start this year and had started buying gifts for the season before summer had even come to a close. Continue Reading…

Guest Blog: 6 Tips for an Effective Household Budget

Nerd Wallet Budgeting
 
Courtesy of Nerd Wallet, this week we have a fantastic guest blog to share with you:
 

Halloween and horror movies might not be as scary as you once thought they were—but maybe that’s because something scarier has replaced them: managing household expenses. Whether you’re a twenty-something, a couple living together for the first time, or an experienced homeowner with kids, the lingering concern over your finances might be the ghost that’s haunting you and won’t leave you alone. The way to ward off this ghost, though, is to confront it and create an effective household budget to understand your finances and your limits. Let’s break it down into steps.

1. Shine some light on your spending habits
2. Slash nonessential expenditures
3. Take off the mask
4. Prepare for worst-case scenario—and holidays
5. Review and revise your budgeting strategies
6. Get more help from tools online

1. Shine some light on your spending habits

The best way to start making a budget is to consider what you (and your family) spend your money on, on a daily and monthly basis. Here’s a list of four general categories—the first two consist of inflexible payments and the latter two are variable expenses:

  • Regular Necessities (rent, food, utilities, gas, etc.)
  • Bills and Loans (such as credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, etc.)
  • Long-Term Savings (401k, savings and emergency accounts, etc.)
  • Fun/Recreation (date night, trip with the kids, etc.)

Feel free to do this with others in your household and add on any categories they suggest to help you personalize the budget. Now, take your income and subtract out all those expenses. Include any others’ income and/or expenses in your household. Don’t panic if the result is a negative number – this is why you’re making a budget. Designate a percentage of your income to each of these categories in order to organize your monetary priorities.

Continue Reading…