When it comes to your budget, staying disciplined can be hard. Nobody wants to turn down a movie or going out with friends because of their tight budget. Sometimes you want to treat yourself to a new gadget or a stylish pair of new shoes. There will always be temptations, and it's silly to believe otherwise. However, even the most little purchases or outing expenses can add up over time.
Nobody expects you to give up nice things completely, but a little moderation is needed to help you save money. If you're tired of constantly worrying about your budget, try using these tips to keep yourself in check.
Carry Cash More Often
It's easy to see how fast our money can deplete when we're not using a debit or credit card. The act of physically handing over hard-earned $20 bills will make you think twice about that expensive splurge. When possible, leave your cards at home so that you won't be tempted to make more unnecessary purchases.
Give Yourself An Allowance
Plan out a weekly or monthly allowance in advance and don't go over this amount. Use cash on things like gas and groceries, and save your credit card for bill payments. The key to being successful here is to be realistic. If you like to buy a lot of frozen meals, don't plan out your budget so that you can only afford soup and rice. In addition to the essentials, it's perfectly reasonable to factor in an occasional treat - as long as it's in your allowance.
Keep a List of All Your Purchases
Many of us have busy lives due to a demanding job, a house full of kids, or a packed class schedule. Our minds are always elsewhere, so we often do not realize just how much money we're spending every day. Start writing down everything every purchase, from a bag of chips at the gas station to your electric bill. As the list grows longer, you'll be able to see where the areas where you need to cut back. Additionally, seeing how much cash you're dropping on a daily basis can help curb your spending appetite.
The Envelope Method
Some people have a bad habit of taking money from one part of their budget to spend on another part. Continuously taking money from your rent budget to feed your fast food budget is obviously a bad move. To prevent this, label envelopes with names like "Groceries" and "Movie Night" and put a set amount of cash inside them. Once the money is all spent, don't add any more until the next time you plan out your budget.
Finding a Budget Partner
When you're trying to save money on your own, it's hard to keep yourself accountable. Keep in mind that you're never alone in this struggle: thousands of people are struggling to make ends meet, it's just not easy to talk about! Find a buddy who's also trying to make better money habits and have weekly check-ins to see how well you're doing. The aspect of competition may even be an added incentive to pile up more savings.
Stop Spending Too Much At Restaurants
Even on a tighter budget, it's still possible to go out to a nice meal. Depriving yourself can actually cause you to crack under stress, resulting in you spending more. You can cut back costs in little ways, like ordering water to drink or skipping the appetizer. This way you can still feel like you got to have a cheat day while still saving money!
We all have long-term savings goals, like a new house or a dream vacation. Sticking to your budget will keep your spending habits under control so that you can achieve those goals faster.