Budgets…budgets…budgets. I don’t know about you but I create budgets so I can stick to them and accomplish a goal. For many years, I never took the foundation of creating a budget serious enough to follow it religiously. Come to think of it, my budget was never really a budget…it was an unorganized idea of where my money would go.
So honestly, what’s the point of creating a budget if you’re not going to follow through with it? There’s nothing worse than wasted time. And let’s be real here, if your family is going to ever get its finances in order you’re going to need a way to ensure you stick to the budget you’ve worked so hard creating, right!?
Don’t fret! Because you know I got you….below, you’ll find a guide for creating a doable foundation to help you have budget motivation!
Study Your Habits - You can't stick to a budget if you don't know your weaknesses.
Before you can stick to a budget, you need to know where your weaknesses are. That way you can build them into your budget thus avoiding spur of the moment spending. Or feeling like you’re depriving yourself of life.
If you know you like to get your favorite Chinese dinner every Wednesday then you best build it into your budget, sis!
If you don’t know how to look at your bank statements check out this website for a step-by-step guide.
Goals help you get inspired. You’ll always have an idea of why you’re doing all this saving and cutting back.
You should create goals with different timelines. A 3-month financial goal, 6-month, and 1-year financial goal. And to play off the inspiration tactic, I would even go as far as printing off pictures that correlate with the goal you made.
Example: If want to be able to get a new hairstyle in 3 months…I would print off the exact hairstyle I want and put it somewhere that I’d see every day.
This keeps you motivated, inspired, and accounted for.
Plan Together - Everyone can stick to the budget if everyone knows about it
I think it is very important for both parties in the relationship to work on the budget together.
I get it. One may be more budget savvier than the other but to have both people give input will surely lead to a better budget foundation.
Everyone can have enough motivation to stick to it if each person had a hand in making the budget. Or at least giving opinions on what’s an important expense for the month and what can wait until the next. And it also fosters an opportunity to bond together (win-win)!
Write it Down
Write your budget down…a couple of times if you have to! Writing things down makes you more likely to remember them. A budget is no different. Writing it down makes you more likely to follow it.
And bonus! You get a chance to see exactly how your money is being used. Another motivation tactic.
Create A Cushion
It’s very important to have a little bit of flexibility in your budget and building in a cushion allows for those small unforeseen situations.
Consider the possibility of additional bill fees, or needing to make a couple of trips out of town and needing more gas than usual, or a last-minute birthday party you need to buy a gift for, etc. Having a little buffer allows for those things to happen without another budget category having to suffer.
Stick to your Budget by removing the Ease of Access
Are you aware of your spending weakness? If you’re not, look at your finances for the last three months, what have you spent the most unbudgeted money on?
Mine is spontaneous spending. An unplanned Target trip here and an unplanned Amazon purchase there. These weak areas tend to add up and can negatively affect the growth of your financial successes.
So what do you do? You eliminate the problem. If you have an Amazon problem – delete the app (maybe even cancel your subscription). Do you like to window shop? That’s cool and all but leave your cards and cash in the car.
If you’re going to be successful, you need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
If you and your family are going to be successful, you all will need to take the necessary steps to keep your budget motivation high.
To recap: If you want to stick to your budget and stay on track you’ll want to implement every single tip below.
- Study your spending habits for the last 3 months (using your banking statements)
- Eliminate any weakness areas by removing the ease of access
- Create a cushion to protect you from the unknown
- Write your budget down….more than once if necessary.
- Plan your budget as a family
- Create goals as a family
Remember, budgets are not a one-time success story. It may take you a few months to get the proportions right and that’s okay. Just keep trying and adjusting as needed. You’ll get there.
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