How to Create a Budget and Stick To It

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We all know that spending money is easy (too easy for some), but saving money is the real challenge. Whether we like it or not, saving money is very important and creating a budget for yourself can help in the long run, but only if you stick to it. Many people find getting started is the hardest part, that’s where we are here to help. These simple and easy tips, if applied to your life, can help you curb your spending and start putting that money in your savings account.

Track your daily spending

Writing down your daily expenses will show you just how much money you are spending day to day. From that information, you can identify where you’re putting your pennies and, more importantly, where you can cut back. You can either use a scratch piece of paper or even make a spreadsheet on your computer. Don’t guess here, refer back to previous months of bank statements to get a true picture of your expenditure.

Know your income

Knowing how much you spend and where goes hand in hand with how much money you’re bringing in. Fixed income and any side income that you receive on a monthly basis should be taken into account. When planning your budget, ideally your income should be higher than your expenditure. Not only that, but leaving room for you to start saving. Even if it’s just $20 a month. Putting money in savings account is great, but keeping it there is the goal.

Plan for the unexpected

More times than not you will have unexpected costs throughout the month. Unfortunately, that’s life. When you are determining your budget and how much money you should spend versus save, take account of those things that “might” happen. Even if they don’t, you can keep the money in a savings account for another time. Setting aside at least $100 for incidentals can save you a headache when life’s problems arise throughout the month. Also, by making your budget fluctuating to what is going on that time of year will help you plan ahead. Know your car tags need renewed in April? Plan money in your budget for that expense.

A little goes a long way

Little savings here and there can eventually add up and help tremendously down the road. Once you have your budget written out, look for places you could spend less. This could either be by cutting down on eating out during the month or looking at a way to save money while grocery shopping (for tips on this check out the Don’t Let the Grocery Store Break the Bank blog post).

Hold yourself accountable

In order to stick to your budget, you have to check in on yourself and make sure you are sticking to the budget you have created. Throughout the month, compare your bank statements with your budget to hold yourself accountable to the budget you put in place. Sticking to a budget is tough, but once frugal spending becomes a habit, then you will find yourself in a better financial position.

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