13 September 2019
A budget is one of the best tools you have at your disposal to get control of your finances and to improve your financial situation, but sticking to a budget can be difficult for many reasons, from lack of time to sit down and budget to not finding a budget that is easy to use long-term. This can lead to you making the same budgeting mistakes over and over again, not to mention the many misconceptions about budgeting and money.
Budgeting takes work, especially in the first few months. You’re still getting organized, adjusting to any potential lifestyle changes, and simply getting used to the idea of being on a budget. These five budgeting hacks can help, and just may give you the push you need to stick to a budget once and for all.
1. Use Cash for Problem Categories
If moving to a cash-only budget isn’t realistic for you based on your lifestyle or spending needs, you may consider switching to a cash-only budget only for problem categories. For example, if you always go over on your clothing budget, consider taking out a certain amount of cash each week or month for that category. Once the money is gone, it’s gone. This will help you stick to a budget, even in your problem areas.
Some other common areas for overspending include groceries and entertainment money. If you want to look at how you spent the money within these categories, keep the receipts. This way, you can further study your spending and determine when you run into issues.
Keep in mind that for problem areas such as overspending on groceries, dividing up your money into weekly allotments may be more prudent. That way, you won’t run out of money in the middle of the month and be stuck with no food.
2. Install Budgeting Software on Your Phone
An easy-to-use budgeting app on your phone can make sticking to a budget much easier. It’s a great way to track what you’re spending in real time and be able to access your budget, anytime, anywhere.
Most budgeting apps can sync with your computer or even your spouse, which makes it that much easier to stay on the same page, spending-wise. These apps also allow you to quickly check how much you have left in each category, which can help prevent overspending.
3. Have Regular Budget Meetings
Budget meetings with your spouse and family are a great way to get your budget on the right track. A budget meeting simply means that you look over your spending, savings, and the progress of your financial goals on a regular basis so you can make changes as needed. It’s a must for married couples.
You shouldn’t discount this idea completely if you’re single. You should still have regular money check-ins with yourself, to ensure that you are sticking to your budget and working toward your financial goals.
While budget meetings may seem like a lot more work, they’ll pay off in the long run. Remember, it’s important that you are aware of where your money is going, how much you have left each month, and how well you are sticking to your budget.
4. Cut Your Utility Bills
Cutting your monthly bills will make it easier to stay on budget. If you are struggling with different categories, finding extra wiggle room in your budget can make a big difference.
Shopping for a new cell phone plan or Internet provider can help you save, but so can adjusting the thermostat. These steps will make sticking to you your budget easier by freeing up more cash.
5. Save on Food
For many people, the biggest problem area for spending is the cost of food.
Fast food is a convenience that can add up quickly, especially since the prices keep going up. When you consider how much it would cost to make the food on your own, you nearly always come out ahead by cooking.
It still can be difficult to save on your food budget. A menu planning service may be just the hack you need to really save on your grocery bill. The service puts together a list and provides with new recipes to cook each week. This can help you stop eating out and makes sure the food you go buy does not go to waste.
Caldwell, M. (2014, September 17). 5 Budget Hacks to Make Your Life Easier. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/budget-hacks-make-life-easier-2385611