Let’s face it, the hardest part about budgeting is simply sticking to your budget. That’s why it’s important to make a budget that you can live with and stick to. Use these tips to help you get started.
Start by realizing that the budgeting process can be painful. After all, its in some way a personalized appraisal and review of how you manage your money. It may be difficult to see your mistakes and making changes to improve your budget may need to be dramatic if your spending is out of control. I can’t describe this any better than how this US News article described budgeting as:
A painful process. One of the primary reasons many people don’t stick to a budget is that they force difficult changes in their life. They also force people to confront some unpleasant realities about where their money is going. It’s often easier to abandon the budget than continue to be disciplined.
In this way, budgets are like diets: easy to start, but difficult to finish. Vohwinkle said the best way to improve your chances of success is to make the process less painful.
“Like a diet, you have to get out of the mindset that you’re depriving yourself,” he says. “You have a certain amount of money each month. It doesn’t matter where you’re spending it, you just have to spend under that amount. So you can spend more in areas that make you happy, and spend less in areas that don’t.”….
Read the rest of this article about The Key to Creating—and Sticking to—a Budget
Second, don’t slash expenses too quickly. A reasonable budget has somewhat gradual changes that lower your costs over time. If you can slash a lot of costs like insurance and your mortgage quickly, go for it, but be careful about tightening your entertainment and other personal budgets too quickly. You can’t expect to change your lifestyle overnight, so plan to gradually lower your expenses but make sure you stick to it. Cutting out a few costs here and there is not too painful, and the good feeling that you get from having success can help motivate you to make further cuts.
Reward Yourself. Make sure you pat yourself on the back for any successes that you can attribute to your budgeting. While it doesn’t make sense to reward yourself by more spending, you should spend a little time each month adding up the money you saved. Watching your savings grow is a great reward. It will help you feel financially secure and can actually make your life more rewarding by greatly reducing your anxiety and worries. Instead of worrying about money, you can focus on friends, family and more important things.
Focus on the long term. By focusing on the long term, you can more easily stick to your budget. After all, a budget isn’t a one time event, its a way to control and manage your money for the future. Find a goal such as saving for retirement and focus on how your budget can help you get there.