Keeping a budget can help you save money and ensure that your finances are on track. But what happens when you can’t seem to stick to your budget?
There can be a number of reasons why you may struggle to stay within your budget. Perhaps you have unexpected expenses pop up or you’re trying to save for a big purchase. Whatever the case may be, there are a few things you can do to get back on track.
Here are several tips for sticking to your budget:
Table of Contents
- 1. Never Spend More Than You Have
- 2. Think Twice Before Big Purchases
- 3. Stick to a Lower Credit Card Limit
- 4. Create a List of Your Regular Monthly Expenses
- 5. Find Ways To Save Money On Your Regular Expenses
- 6. Save Money on Essential Expenses
- 7. Plan for Your Variable Monthly Expenses
- 8. Create a System for Tracking Your Spending
- 9. Prepare for the Unexpected
- 10. Review Your Budget Regularly
- 11. Budget to Zero
- 12. Save Up for Big Purchases
- 13. Find Ways to Save
- 14. Create a Savings Plan
- 15. Avoid Temptation
- 16. Make Adjustments as Needed
- 17. Stop Paying Subscription Fees
- 18. Don’t OverbuyYour Meals
- 19. Buy Generic Brands Instead of Name Brands
- 20. Shopping Online Can Help You Save Money
- 21. Talk to Someone for Advice
- Final Thought
1. Never Spend More Than You Have
One of the best ways to stick to your budget is to make sure you never spend more money than you have. This may seem like common sense, but it can be easy to overspend if you’re not careful.
If you find that you regularly spend more money than you have, try tracking your spending for a month. This will help you identify where your money is going and where you can cut back.
You may also want to consider using a budgeting app or tool. There are a number of different options available, and these can help you stay on top of your finances.
2. Think Twice Before Big Purchases
It’s also important to think carefully before making any big purchases. A new car or a fancy piece of jewelry may be tempting, but it’s important to consider how this will impact your budget.
Before making any major purchase, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I really need this?
- Can I afford this?
- How will this impact my budget?
If you can answer these questions honestly, you’ll be less likely to make a purchase you can’t afford.
3. Stick to a Lower Credit Card Limit
Credit cards can be helpful when you need to make a purchase but don’t have the cash on hand. However, they can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.
If you tend to overspend with your credit card, try setting a lower limit for yourself. This will help you stay within your budget and avoid racking up too much debt.
You may also want to consider using a cash-back credit card. This way, you’ll earn rewards for your spending that you can use to offset the cost of your purchases.
4. Create a List of Your Regular Monthly Expenses
A big part of sticking to a budget is knowing where your money goes each month. This can be difficult to track if you don’t have a good system in place.
One way to track your spending is to create a list of all your regular monthly expenses. This could include things like your mortgage or rent, car payment, insurance, utilities, and groceries.
5. Find Ways To Save Money On Your Regular Expenses
Once you know where your money is going each month, you can start to look for ways to save money. There are a number of ways to do this, and the best approach will depend on your individual circumstances.
One option is to negotiate your monthly bills. This could include things like your rent, car payment, or insurance premiums. If you’re able to lower your payments, you’ll have more money left over each month to save or spend as you please.
Another way to save money is to cut back on your regular expenses. This could mean eating out less often, cutting back on your cable package, or canceling your gym membership. If you’re able to reduce your expenses, you’ll have more money to put towards your savings goals.
6. Save Money on Essential Expenses
There are also a number of ways to save money on essential expenses, like groceries and utilities. For example, you might want to consider using coupons or shopping at discount stores. You can also try to negotiate better rates with your service providers.
If you’re able to save money on your essential expenses, you’ll have more room in your budget to save or spend as you please.
7. Plan for Your Variable Monthly Expenses
Another important part of sticking to a budget is understanding your variable monthly expenses. These are the expenses that can fluctuate from month to month, like gas and groceries.
One way to deal with variable expenses is to create a savings goal for each one. For example, you might want to save $50 per month for gas. This way, you’ll have the money you need when your expenses go up.
You can also try to cut back on your variable expenses. This could mean driving less often or cooking at home more often. If you’re able to reduce your spending, you’ll have more money to put towards your savings goals.
8. Create a System for Tracking Your Spending
Sticking to a budget can be difficult if you don’t have a good system for tracking your spending. There are a number of different ways to do this, and the best approach will depend on your needs.
One option is to use a budgeting app or software. This can help you track your spending and see where you can cut back.
Another option is to create a budget for yourself. This could involve tracking your spending with a pen and paper or using a spreadsheet. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of budgeting templates available online.
No matter which approach you decide to use, the important thing is that you find a system that works for you. Having a good system in place will make it easier to stick to your budget and reach your financial goals.
9. Prepare for the Unexpected
One of the most important parts of sticking to a budget is preparing for the unexpected. This could include things like job loss, medical bills, or car repairs.
One way to prepare for the unexpected is to create an emergency fund. This is a savings account that you can use to cover unexpected expenses. Ideally, you should aim to save enough money to cover three to six months of living expenses.
Another way to prepare for the unexpected is to have a plan in place for dealing with financial emergencies. This could involve using credit cards or taking out loans. It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of any financial products you use so that you can avoid getting into debt.
10. Review Your Budget Regularly
Sticking to a budget is an ongoing process, and it’s important to review your budget regularly. This will help you make sure that you’re on track and identify any areas where you can improve.
One way to review your budget is to compare your actual spending to your budgeted amounts. This can help you see where you’re overspending or underspending.
Another way to review your budget is to track your progress towards your financial goals. This will help you see if you need to make any changes to your budget.
Regularly reviewing your budget will help you stay on track and reach your financial goals.
11. Budget to Zero
Another helpful tip is to budget until you reach zero. This means that all of your income for the month should be accounted for in your budget.
This may seem like a daunting task, but it can be surprisingly easy to do. Start by tracking your spending for a month and then create a budget based on that information.
12. Save Up for Big Purchases
If you’re trying to save money, it can be helpful to put away money each month for big purchases. This way, you won’t have to worry about going over budget when it comes time to make a purchase.
You can set up a savings account specifically for this purpose or simply put the money into your existing savings account. Either way, having the money saved up will help you stay on track with your budget.
13. Find Ways to Save
There are a number of ways you can save money each month. Try to implement as many of these tips as possible to help you stay within your budget.
- Cut back on unnecessary expenses
- Shop around for better deals
- Use coupons and discounts
- Compare prices before you buy
- Wait 24 hours before making a purchase
- Ask for a lower price
- Do it yourself
14. Create a Savings Plan
If you’re struggling to stick to your budget, it may be because you don’t have a specific goal in mind. When you’re trying to save money, it can be helpful to have a target amount in mind.
For example, if you’re trying to save for a vacation, calculate how much you need to save and set up a savings plan. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re not spending more money than you can afford.
15. Avoid Temptation
It can be hard to stick to your budget if you’re constantly being tempted to spend money. If you find yourself in this situation, try to avoid places where you’re likely to spend money unnecessarily.
For example, if you have a problem with spending too much money on clothes, avoid going to the mall or shopping online. If you’re trying to save money on food, cook at home rather than eating out.
16. Make Adjustments as Needed
There will be times when you need to make adjustments to your budget. This is perfectly normal, and it’s nothing to be concerned about.
If you find that you’re struggling to stick to your budget, take a look at where you can cut back or make changes. Perhaps you need to adjust your savings goals or find ways to reduce your spending.
Making small changes to your budget can make a big difference in the long term.
17. Stop Paying Subscription Fees
You may have subscriptions for services that you no longer use or don’t use often. If this is the case, consider canceling these subscriptions to save money each month.
It may also be worth looking into alternatives to your current subscriptions. For example, if you have a cable TV subscription, you could switch to a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, which will likely be cheaper.
18. Don’t OverbuyYour Meals
Planning your meals in advance can help you save money and avoid wasting food. When you know what you’re going to be eating ahead of time, it’s easier to stick to your budget and make sure you’re not buying more food than you need.
This doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing every day. Simply planning out your meals for the week can help you save money and avoid wasting food.
19. Buy Generic Brands Instead of Name Brands
Compare the prices of name brands and generic products before you make a purchase. You may be surprised to find that the generic brands are often just as good as the name brands, but they’re usually much cheaper.
This can help you save a significant amount of money each month, which can allow you to stick to your budget more easily.
20. Shopping Online Can Help You Save Money
Shopping online can be a great way to save money. You can often find better deals on the internet than you can in stores. Plus, you won’t have to spend money on gas or other transportation costs.
Whenever possible, try to shop online instead of in stores. This can help you save a significant amount of money each month.
21. Talk to Someone for Advice
If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget, it may be helpful to talk to someone about it. This could be a friend, family member, or financial advisor.
Sometimes it can be helpful to get another person’s perspective on your finances. They may be able to offer helpful advice or insights that you hadn’t considered before.
Sticking to a budget can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it perfectly. Just make an effort to save money each month and stay within your budget as best as you can.
By tracking your spending and looking for ways to save, you can make sure you’re staying within your budget.