Creating a budget is one thing. Sticking to it is another, and it’s no easy task. Being able to successfully do it, however, is a great accomplishment and a victory, and gives you a sense of control over your finances. Sticking to a budget is crucial in reaching your financial goals because every goal requires planning. However, no matter how well you design your budget plan, you sometimes find yourself overspending or over-indulging on certain aspects. Don’t beat yourself up for it! Everybody does it every once in a while. What matters is you get back on track each time.
Sometimes, it is in the smallest of ways that we end up going over our budget. The small, seemingly harmless things we spend on cost us a lot when added up at the end of each month. The good news is it could also be in the smallest of ways that we can stick to our money plan. Here are a few tips to sticking to your budget and saving money:
Avoid grocery-shopping hungry. It’s a given that you need to have to a grocery list every time you go grocery shopping. However, it is always very tempting to grab a couple of unlisted snacks because we end up craving when you see them on the shelves. Try doing your shopping after a meal and see the difference.
Plan your meals. Even with eating, you need direction. Not planning your meals means eating out or ordering takeouts more. Before grocery-shopping, plan your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. List down all the items you’d need for your planned meals and stick to your list. Make sure to plan healthy meals so that both your wallet and your body are in tiptop shape.
Don’t bring your credit card around with you. Credit cards are good for well-thought-out purchases. However, if used for daily spendings and splurges, the bill compounds very quickly. People tend to spend more when using their credit cards because they don’t feel the financial burden until a few weeks when the billing statement comes. Stick to debit or cash for most of your purchases for easier tracking.
Shop at thrift stores. Sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you don’t get to buy new items for your wardrobe once in a while, but you can do so without breaking the bank. You may find great pieces at thrift stores at one-tenth of the price you’d get at malls.
Try DIY home supplies. Cut down on household cleaners by using ingredients you have in the kitchen to make your own. Vinegar and baking soda solution is a good stain remover, for example. Lemons are good spot cleaners, too.
Track everything you buy. This will give you a glimpse of your spending behavior. Do it religiously for two weeks so you’ll get an insight as to the items you spend most on, as well as your unnecessary expenses. This will help you adjust your spending habits for the better.
Be realistic. The closer your budget is to reality, the better you could stick to it. If your budget for the occasional dining out is $100, but end up spending around $200 each month, why not make your budget $150 to give yourself a little elbow room?
Whether it’s paying off all your debts or saving for a home downpayment, every financial goal is attainable with a good action plan at hand. Sticking to a budget is a great step and also a good way to honor all of your hard work.
This article originally appeared on payment1.com