Figuring out my budgeting for a week or a month alone can be difficult for me, and even after setting a budget and feeling good about it, that’s not the end. Adjustments are necessary when things come up! I’m not a professional by any means, but here’s some tips I’ve learned so far.
- Prioritize your spending – Besides the staples and payments that you pay for every week or month, sit down and really think about what types of things you want to be spending money on. Whether it’s experiences like eating out, specialty groceries, trips, or spending money for material items. When you decide what kinds of things you want to be spending money on, it’s easier to spend less on the other extras. That doesn’t mean you never buy new items or never take trips, it just means that you allot your extra spending money mostly to what you have priority on.
- Communicate often – If you live with a spouse, it’s important to have open and honest conversations about how you want to spend money. There’s a reason why finances can break relationships – money can be stressful! Just be sure to be flexible, and remember that it isn’t the only thing in life that can give you happiness (cliche, but true).
- Set regular goals – Save a certain amount every month, donate a certain amount every month, only go out a certain number of times a month, etc. All these things can be goals that can keep you focused on your budget and less likely to spend outside of it.
- Check in constantly – I’m definitely the type of person that needs to be reminded over and over again what I have in my budget and what I’ve spent so far. This can be checking your bank statement regularly or keeping track of every purchase. I’m still experimenting with different options to find what I like to use the most, and have heard some great things about apps like Mint. What have you used to stay on track?
- Reevaluate when necessary – A change in jobs? Rent increase or decrease? Planning a big trip? All of these are reasons to go through your budget again and make sure you adjust your categories as needed. A budget, I’m learning, is not something you can just set once and be done with.
- Let yourself live – Having a strong budget doesn’t mean you can’t do anything, it just means you plan for it in advance. Spend some money once a month on a great date-night or night out with friends instead of spending the same amount going through the drive-through twice a week.
Budgeting takes a lot of work, whether it’s just you or you and another person. Committing to going through your finances regularly and having open communication about needs versus wants can make it less stressful.
What has helped you the most to keep a budget?