How to Trick Yourself into Sticking to Your Budget
If you’re a spender at heart, you may find it difficult to stick to a monthly budget. It seems like everything is going along fine, then one day you wander into a new clothing store, shoe store, or spend a little too long browsing around on Amazon, and before you know what happened, your budget is blown! It can happen before you even realize it. Especially if you come into some unexpected cash one month and feel like you have a little extra to “play” with.
So, how do you keep yourself and your budget in check? With smart little tricks that actually work. Here’s what I recommend.
- Avoid your spending triggers
This may be tough, but you seriously need to avoid your spending triggers at all costs. Your triggers are anything that you can’t help yourself but buy if you’re around it. You know what they are better than anyone else. Whatever you can’t help yourself but buy, avoid it at all costs.
- Openly talk about money with your family and friends
By being open about your finances you will feel relief and stress-free. People are more understanding that you may think. And if they’re not, then that’s their problem, not yours. Letting people know that you’re working on your money situation and how your finances are affecting your choices, will help them understand you better.
- Plan a budget before the beginning of the month
If money is tight and you are feeling stressed, you may be tempted to skip the budget, but that’s when you need it most. There is comfort in knowing the facts, so you need to create a budget even if it seems like you’ll be over. By knowing exactly how much money you’re bringing in and what needs to go out, you’ll be able to focus on the gap so you can improve next month. You won’t be able to make a change if you keep avoiding the problem.
- Surround yourself with people who are budget-conscious
The best way to curb spending and stay within a budget is to spend time around other budget-friendly people. They will help you stay focused on your goals and offer their own advice and suggestions of things they’ve learned along the way. You never know what other tips and tricks you’ll learn!
- Set a budget for items above what you need
Set your budget for items above what you expect your real budget to be. For example, if your grocery budget is $600 / month, set it for $700 instead. This may actually help you spend less than $600.
- Listen to money podcasts
Listening to money podcasts will have the same effect as reading books about money; it will get you in the mindset of budgeting and help you stay motivated. Unlike reading a book, podcasts allow you to do other things, like driving. Try listening to a budgeting podcast during your commute.
- Use cash instead of credit
Instead of charging your purchase, use cash. This will help you curb your spending by forcing you to see the money leave your hands.
By surrounding yourself with like-minded people, planning ahead, avoiding spending triggers, and learning about budgeting through podcasts, you will find it easier to stick to your budget through your habits.