Struggling to stick to your budget?
If so, you’re not alone. Sticking to a budget is a struggle that most people have. If it were that simple to become disciplined, then we’d all do it.
In fact, I sometimes struggle with staying within our own family budget. But, over the years, I’ve found some hacks that help me stick to our budget.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing four tips for you to be able to stick to your budget. So if you’ve ever run into a problem sticking to the budget that you set, and you find yourself going over it every month, you want to take note of these tips.
Let’s hop right in.
1. Make your budget accessible
The number one tip to stick to your budget is to make your budget accessible. The whole adage of out of sight out of mind really does apply when it comes to budgeting.
If you don’t see your budget and you don’t know what your limits are, you will find yourself overspending every time. So the best way that you can stay within those bounds of your budget is knowing what they are. That means you always have to have it up front and present with you.
One way is to carry around a budget binder.
A budget binder consists of printed budget sheets that you put into a binder. The binder not only houses your budget, but it also includes bill tracking sheets, bill calendars, savings trackers and more!
If you like to write things down, then having a budget binder is a great option for you. The caveat is that you have to carry this binder around with you to keep it up to date.
Although budget binders are great, I like to have a budget spreadsheet. I have my own budget spreadsheet that I can access via Google sheets. This means that I can access it on my computer, on a mobile device, on or tablet. Pretty much anywhere I go, I’m able to access our budget.
The cool thing is being able to access it on your mobile phone so that when you’re out and about, you can actually update your budget or you can check your budget to see exactly what your spending limit is for a particular category. So I definitely recommend having a budget spreadsheet that you can access all the time.
Another option is to have a budgeting app. These apps allow you to see your budget on the go and some also categorize your spending for you.
In the past, I’ve found that a lot of times the apps don’t necessarily categorize your spending in the right area. So if you use one, be sure to double check when your spending has been placed in your budget.
Regardless of what method you choose, my number one tip to stay within your budget is to have something that’s accessible. It should be with you at all times so that you can check it and update it as well.
2. Track your expenses when they happen
The second tip for staying in your budget is to track your expenses immediately. When you track things immediately, you’re able to see an update of how much you have left in your budget.
Say for instance, you go have a grocery budget of maybe $250. You go to the grocery store and you spend $100 dollars. When you track that expense immediately, you know that I have $150 left for your next grocery run.
You want to track those expenses immediately so that you can get an update on your balance to spend. Knowing this helps you adjust your spending so that you aren’t continuing to spend and going over budget. So track those expenses immediately.
It’s kind of like when our grandparents used to balance their checkbook whenever they made a purchase. It’s the same concept. It allows you to know exactly where your budget currently stands so that you don’t go over your amount.
3. Use Cash Envelopes
The third way to stay within your budget is to use cash envelopes or digital cash envelopes.
A cash envelope is basically a physical envelope that you put cash in for that budget category.
So again, if you have a budget for groceries of $50, you will take out cash and you will put it in that envelope. When you go grocery shopping, you will spend that cash.
When that money is spent, you are done with that category in your budget. That means no more spending.
This practice is particularly good for people who want to use cash. However, even if you prefer using a debit card, there is still an option for you.
Digital Cash Envelopes
Qube is an app that you can use for digital “cash” envelopes. It is actually something that I’m using right now to help me manage my discretionary spending.
The app allows you to create digital cash envelopes in the same concept as a physical cash envelope. So for each of your budgeting categories, you can electronically transfer money from your bank into different qubes, or “envelopes.”
When you’re ready to spend on that category, you open that qube, pay for your purchase and you close it out. The app automatically updates and tells you how much money you have left in that qube, or category.
If you don’t have enough money in that particular category or that qube, you can’t make a purchase from it. It’s the same concept as a cash envelope except in a digital version.
So if you prefer carrying a debit card, I definitely recommend Qube. It will help you become a better manager of your budget so that you aren’t going over budget.
4. Plan for fun
The fourth and final tip that I have to stay within budget is to plan for fun.
A lot of times we go over budget because we just haven’t planned for the fun things that we want to enjoy. Instead, we end up being tempted by something that we see at the store, perhaps, and we spend money that we haven’t allocated.
Go ahead and plan for dining out, fun trips, and even shopping. Plan for those things that you know you enjoy in life. Intentionally put some money aside so that it’s not going over budget when you pay for it. Instead, plan it into your budget ahead of time.
Budget for those trips to Target so that you can buy that item that’s on sale. Or if you just don’t feel like cooking for the night, you can order out for pizza or whatever the case may be. Make sure it’s accounted for so that when you do want to spend the money, it’s there.
Final thoughts on sticking to your budget
Alright, those are my four tips for staying within your budget. They are super easy to implement and you can start with each of them today! Sticking to your budget doesn’t have to be a chore when you use these hacks!