Although many of us know how valuable budgeting can be when it comes to getting control of our finances, some people have started to fear the word. It’s no surprise that budgeting has a bad reputation. Most of the time, when you think of building your budget, the chances are that you think about missing out on fun, eating boring foods, and constantly searching for coupons.
However, budgeting doesn’t have to be as time-consuming and painful as you’d think. The truth is that there’s no one right way to budget. Everyone has their own strategies, and the key to success is finding out what works for you. Here, we’re going to look at 6 simple ways that you can make budgeting less of a pain.
Regardless of the kind of budgeting strategy you decide to use, you’ll find that most systems require you to track your spending habits. Tracking spending is a different process for everyone. While some people will prefer to use an excel spreadsheet on their computers, others will prefer the idea of making notes by hand.
There are even budgeting apps available for your smartphone today that can track your expenses for you by noting down how much money comes out of your bank account each day. Find out which method works for you and stick with it.
One of the easiest ways to simplify your budgeting habits and save money at the same time is to cut out the bills that you don’t need to pay for. Cancel gym memberships that you keep trying to convince yourself you’re going to use and try working out on your own at home instead.
If you have multiple different streaming services available, but you only ever use one of them, then get rid of the ones that you’re keeping around “just in case.” The more you cut down on the unnecessary bills, the more money you’ll have to spend on the things that matter.
Alternatively, if you have lots of small outgoings servicing historic loans or credit cards, taking out a new loan to repay all of your current ones may work out significantly cheaper. And it will most definitely help with the budgeting side of things.
Even the best budgets won’t do you much good if you and your family aren’t working on the same page. Although it might be difficult to convince smaller children to help you out with your budgeting efforts, you can let your older kids know why you’re trying to save money and ask them if they have any ideas on places where you can cut back.
It’s also crucial to make sure that you and your partner have a united view of the budget you want to stick to. Make sure that both of you are compromising, rather than one person getting to spend money on what they want, and the other having to worry about bills. This can reduce unnecessary arguments later down the line.
Life doesn’t stay the same for long. One minute you could be looking for a job, the next you could be waiting for a great promotion that will seriously improve your income. As things change in your life, it’s important to keep coming back to your budget and making changes as necessary.
Take a few minutes at the end of each week where you simply look back at your spending habits and decide whether they need to change in the weeks or months ahead. Remember, you shouldn’t be leaving it months between updates, as this can make it harder to adapt your spending habits.
While it might be great to tell yourself that you’re never going to spend money on “luxuries” that you don’t need again, the truth is that most people can’t eliminate that frivolous spending habits straight away. Even if you could cut back on your fun spending habits, you probably shouldn’t.
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re constantly miserable about how much you’re “missing out” on. Make sure that you save a little bit of wiggle room in your budget each month for things like meals with friends, or the occasional latte.
Finally, even the best budgets can get tough from time to time. The important thing is to remind yourself that you’re working towards something you want. Your budget is there to help you achieve something, so remind yourself what all this hard work is adding up to.
You might be looking forward to placing a deposit on a new house or trying to find enough money for a family holiday. Whatever your targets are, consider printing a picture out that represents them, that you can look at when you’re feeling uninspired.
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