How many years have you made your New Year’s resolution and been able to keep it? They say a habit takes 21 consecutive days to form. If you’re looking to save yourself some money this year and stop the pattern of overspending, it’s time to take your budgeting goals seriously.
Having a budget will not only give you a broad oversight of what your finances look like, but it will help you realize you could be throwing money away on unnecessary things. There are many ways to create a budget; some people choose to carry a notebook where they log all of their purchases by hand, but in today’s age, it’s much easier to use your smartphone to hold yourself accountable to your budget. There are many apps out there that can help. Next month I’ll do a deeper dive into which apps I think work the best. For now, let’s learn some simple steps that Everydollar has laid out on how you can help yourself stick to your budget.
Give yourself an allowance each month that is realistic. If you typically spend $300 at restaurants each month, there’s no way you’ll be able to stop that cold turkey. Cut it back a bit and allow yourself maybe $200 this month.
Break up your budget into weekly increments. If you allow yourself so much money for entertainment purposes, split that among each week of the month, so you don’t blow it all in the very beginning.
Become a planner. The key to having a successful budget is planning things out and anticipating harsh realities, like unexpected car maintenance. An easy way to feel like you’re ahead when it comes to this is by consulting your social calendar. What birthdays or weddings do you have coming up? Set aside some money for these so you won’t feel strapped when it comes time to buy presents. (This is especially important in December!) Don’t forget to set aside some money each month for things that come up such as having to replace a broken appliance or fix a flat tire.
Learn how to wait for things you want but don’t need. If you’re out shopping and running low on your budget, snap a picture of the item you want and wait to buy it next month. At that time, you might find that you changed your mind and no longer want it. If you decide you still want it, chances are, it’s probably on sale now!