4 Simple and Effective Ways to Stick to Your Budget

Greetings, Fruclastic friends! Today we have a guest post from Tina, who blogs over at Pro Finance Blog. Enjoy!

Making a budget is less difficult when compared with sticking to the budget. You may have read plenty of articles on the web titled “Simple Tips to Make a Budget,” but how many have you read on ways to stick to your budget? Very few I guess.

Well, in this article I’ll give you some tips, which will help you go on a course with your budget. 

How to Stick to a Budget

 Set some goals

Promise yourself you’d stop spending the moment the expenditure goes past a certain amount. Alongside, be determined to do better each time. Don’t revolve around one area to cut back on your spending, instead, play musical chair with all areas, through which money goes out.

Let’s say you have the habit of eating out on every weekend. Stop eating in the restaurants for a whole month; it’ll save you money. The next month, go back to your previous eating out routine, but don’t watch movies at the theatres.

The goals should be realistic, in other words, the saving target shouldn’t be huge. If you don’t save much, then $60 a month should be your saving target. But if you are already saving, make it $40 a week. Unrealistic goals deflect people from sticking with their budgets. Setting realistic goals helps you achieve them.

 Don’t get duped

You think it’s not in your hand. Trust me it’s in your hand. Retailers use their best weapons to lure consumers and dupe them, and all the while, consumers remain completely oblivious to the fact that they are getting duped. Not to forget online scammers, who know various ways to dupe consumers.

Credit card companies are hand in glove with advertisers. Your credit card provider might suddenly offer you a 10% discount on any purchase from a particular brand. Don’t feel overwhelmed; ask yourself whether you seriously need the product. If the answer is negative, then don’t go for it even if the discount is 100%.

There are red flags, watch out for them if you don’t want to get duped. Such red flags are:

  •  “Offer limited for X period” captions.
  • Original price mentioned is difficult to verify.
  • Product price ending with nine. $199 instead of $200 even though there’s hardly any difference.
  • Low cost being highlighted, not the product.

It’s disappointing that most consumers are not aware of the tricks, pulled by the retailers. The smoke released from the advertisement bong pipe clouds their judgment. They don’t give two hoots about the $20 shirt at the thrift store, and go for the $100 one, despite the two being almost same.

 Track your spending

Whatever you spend, make sure you are keeping a track of that. Most of our spending fall into few categories, which are:

  •  Household need
  • Leisurely need
  • Impulse purchase

As you keep a tab on all your spending, you become wiser and over time, you stop buying out of impulse. You buy only those items, which are necessary for daily household chores. Of course, you’ll keep coughing up for your leisurely needs, but the amount of money will never be too high.

Keep a track using pen and paper; get yourself a notebook and jot down the subcategories under the three categories mentioned above. For example, “leisurely need” is a category, comprised of various subcategories such as designer garments, eating out in restaurants, purchasing magazines, watching movies, etc.

At the end of each month, review the notebook to see on which areas, you are spending the most. Suppose the amount of spending on leisure need exceeds that on household need. What you need to do then is identify the subcategories, which are the culprits, and stop wasting money on them. The benefit of breaking down categories into subcategories is you’ll get a detailed idea.

 No debit/credit card

Use cash instead. Save the credit card for purchases from overseas retailers, and the debit card for those moments when you run out of hard cash. Such moments are quite rare, though.

The biggest problem of using a debit or credit card is the continual accumulation of credit in your account. It was the chief reason the 2008 recession hit the United States. There was a shortage of cash because printing the requisite amount of dollars against the cumulative amount of debt was difficult.

Various Smartphone apps have lately sprung up, which allow you to link your credit card to them. Passbook from Apple and Google Wallet from Google are such apps. You don’t even have to carry your credit card along, just download an app, and use it as a proxy. Resisting such apps is undoubtedly difficult, but hey, easy things always yield zero benefit, right?

Besides, using cash keeps you grounded. You don’t buy when there’s not enough cash to buy, and resume purchasing when there’s plenty of it, simple! No accrual of credit.

What do you think of the four tips given here in this article? Do you think we’ve missed out on anything? Can you suggest more effective tips? Let us know in the comment section.

 Tina Roth writes about developing positive habits to help you live a rich and financial independent life. Apart for the editor at blog, Pro Finance Blog, she is a contributor to many other personal finance blogs and helps you craft a financial secure life with her writings.


*Photo courtesy of 401k 2012

8 comments on “4 Simple and Effective Ways to Stick to Your Budget

  1. I like the tip about tracking your spending, but I think you should never walk into a store without a plan or a list of items to indent on buying. Without a plan you might buy things you don’t need or want and overspend.

  2. Great advice. I think that budgets also have to have some degree of flexibility. You can plan to the tiniest detail, but things happen that you can’t plan for, and a budget needs to be able to account for that somehow.

  3. “Advertisement bong pipe” – Hahahaha That had me literally laughing out loud. 🙂
    I ran into this situation over the weekend while shopping. I saw a “sale” for a mini drone and it was 60% off. A fellow shopper (total stranger) asked me what I thought about them and if they were a good deal. Coincidentally, I had been researching remote copters and the like on Amazon, so I told her to go there and find something rated better than those in this store, because she could get better quality for the same price. When I looked that model up online later out of curiosity, the original price had been inflated by $25. The sale price was the usual everyday online price. Ridiculous!

    I was in another store where everything was buy one get one free, and my first thought was, “So, everything is overpriced twice as much as it should be….”

    I was out shopping for specific things, so I wasn’t tempted by the other situations, but it’s amazing how something that can be a “great deal” can be found at that same price online, every day…

  4. I feel like cash is actually harder for me to track than debit. I can just log into my bank account and see what went where, rather than digging out receipts and trying to do the math.

    Well, trying to do the math when my fatigue (and therefore brain fog) has kicked in, anyway.

    But I know for a lot of people cash is king.

  5. I think a year of extreme frugality would be interesting. Not buying something new to replace something that is perfectly fine but slightly outdated would be a challenge to many. Tracking spending has been fascinating this year. We find that no matter what we do, we generally spend $40/day on living expenses other than bills and gasoline. Is that a lot? I’m not sure. But I do wish we could cut it in half without feeling the squeeze, OR multiply it by 10 because we just won a lottery!

  6. “The smoke released from the advertisement bong pipe clouds their judgment.”I That’s a great line! I’m finally getting wise to these advertisements – and the bong smoke doesn’t have its former impact : )

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