How to Keep From Breaking Your Budget
You can find all sorts of advice on the Internet about making a budget. There are great tips like paying off your higher rate loans first to save on interest payments or using a prepaid debit card when you go shopping to avoid overspending. Even with great advice, however, many budgets fail. Here are some ways to keep your budget on track:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to a budget, try taking on one challenge at a time. For example, if you’re already trying to exercise and eat right along with taking on the challenges of a demanding new job, a strict budget may be too much to handle.
Keep it simple. Like most things, the more complicated we make something, the more likely it is to fail. Persistence is the key to maintaining a successful budget, so the more work we have to put into making it work, the more likely we are to give up.
Cut yourself some slack. You can’t expect perfection, so give yourself a little bit of a ‘fudge factor.’ Unexpected expenses may come up, and if you’ve calculated everything to the penny, it will throw everything off and may leave you with the sense that budgeting is simply too hard or not worth the effort.
Keep at it. Putting yourself on a budget can seem like a big change. Like a diet, it’s tough to stick to at first. Make sure to celebrate when you’re able to stay on target, and if you slip up, don’t get discouraged.
Living on a budget is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and it can set you up with the planning skills and the financial discipline to take on any road you travel. Use these tips to stay on track.