How to Stay on Budget
Are you struggling to stay on budget? It can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Here are 12 suggestions that can help you stay on a regular budget.
1. Create a Plan
If you don’t have a plan for your money, you’re going to need one.
Your plan does not need to be perfect, but that doesn’t make it unnecessary. Very likely, you will need to make some tweaks as you go. However, if you start with a plan – even an imperfect one – you will increase your chances of staying on budget.
Take some time to determine what your income and your expenses are, and figure out how much you want to save.
2. Pay for Everything in Cash
If you’re not in the habit of paying for things in cash, it’s time to do so.
You may even want to get on a weekly or monthly spending plan, where you take out money at the beginning of each period and spend no more than what’s in your wallet. This will serve to curtail impulse spending.
At Amass A Fortune, we believe that retirement is determined by income, not by age. With enough money, anyone can be retire at any time.
In addition, we all know that we’re going to need to save for retirement. This is easier said than done, but it’s a good idea to start by paying yourself on a monthly basis, immediately, even if it’s a small amount. This will have the added benefit of helping you to feel more secure.
4. Reduce Habitual Spending
If you are a smoker, drinker, or even a gambler, it’s time to cut out the bad habits. People tend not to change until it really hurts, but if you’re in debt, you’re already hurting more than you know.
Habitual spending might even include things like magazines, energy drinks or fast food. Begin to identify areas where you have a tendency to spend more than you mean to.
5. Seek Mentorship
While it’s great idea to start taking action, and it will yield some results, your efforts will only be magnified by the help of a good mentor.
However, don’t talk to people that don’t have the results you want. If you want to be debt free, go talk to someone who already is. If you want to be financially free, go and ask their advice.
6. Seek Accountability
If you want to stay on budget, you need to stay accountable to someone. It’s pretty hard to stay accountable to yourself, though not wholly impossible.
Maybe your mentor could also serve as your accountability partner. Or, if you have a spouse, work together with them.
7. Pay off Debt
Debt is a killer because of high interest rates; especially credit debt. However, it won’t go away just by wishing it away. You’re going to have to start paying it off.
Create a plan for yourself, and figure out how much money you’d like to put towards debt on a monthly basis. Don’t be afraid of getting aggressive about it.
8. Track Your Expenses
Keep your receipts and track all of your expenses. This is the only way to figure out where your money is going, and what you can cut back on.
Use a site like Mint to help you log your spending. Use the weekly reports to help you get on track financially.
9. Reduce Expenses
If you’ve been tracking your expenses for a while, you should be able to identify areas where you can begin to reduce spending.
If you have a home phone, you can disconnect it and just use your cell phone instead. If you have a cable subscription, you can use Netflix instead. You can even disconnect it entirely; it isn’t doing you that much good.
By cutting expenses, you will be able to put more money towards savings and debt repayment.
10. Plan for a Rainy Day
No matter how organized you are, you will likely need to remain flexible. Unexpected expenses will come up.
If you can, begin setting aside some money for a rainy day. Don’t plan or even expect to have rainy days, but if you know you have an emergency fund, you will feel much more secure.
If you have two cars, you could go down to one. If you have an expensive car, you could sell it off and buy a cheaper one. If you live in a house, you can go back to renting. If your grocery bill is a little high, you can reduce it.
It’s good to know that you have these options, even if you don’t end up having to exercise them. Just remember that streamlining on a grand scale can set you on course very quickly.
12. Sell Unneeded Household Items
Selling unneeded household goods is not a long-term strategy for budgeting and making ends meet, but like streamlining, it can help you to get back on track.
Additionally, getting rid of unwanted items can help to unclog a stifled flow in your life. When you make room for more, more has to show up.