Using a budget planner to keep your finances in order is one thing. Sticking to a budget is another proposition entirely. Here we look at several ways to help you stick to a budget, stay in control and avoid the common mistakes that many people make.
Know Your Finances
You can’t develop a good budget plan if you don’t know your finances intimately. That means being aware of what comes in and what goes out, your spending habits and your plans for the future. Using a budget planner and referring to it on a regular basis means you gain an intimate insight of your finances, which makes budgeting for the future a whole lot easier.
Set Goals and Targets
Introducing goals into your budget helps you stick to a budget. While you might just want to make sure that all your monthly bills are paid on time, having a goal such as saving for a treat or holiday in the future can focus your attention on things like your current buying behaviour and even help you to eradicate wasteful practices such as impulse buying.
Avoid Impulse Buying
One of the biggest barriers to sticking to a budget for many people is that impulse buy. It’s no surprise when there are so many temptations around as we walk past a shop or go online. And it’s easy to part with our hard earned cash with debit and credit cards at the ready. Always give yourself a cooling off period before you decide to buy that impulse treat. Ask yourself how it is going to affect your monthly budget, whether it’s going to leave you short and, more importantly, whether you really need it in the first place.
Not only should you be shopping around for the best product, you should also be looking at what is the most economical buy. For instance, buying a large pack of pasta can be a lot cheaper in the long run than buying several smaller ones. The same goes for tea and other consumables. It’s amazing what you can save by changing your buying habits. Make lists before you go out shopping, keep to them and stick to a budget. Don’t get distracted by clever product placement and special offers.
Reuse and Use
Do you really need to upgrade that phone? Have you used all those vegetables you bought the other day? What does replacing an old product with a new one actually give you in terms of added benefits? We all too often throw away or replace things that are perfectly good and all that can impact on our budgeting.
You should shop around for most products. Whether it’s a new TV or you just want to fill up your car, if you look around you’ll always find a better deal. Check out the prices at your local supermarkets and whether you need to swap your favourite brand store for a cheaper but just as good alternative.
Pay As You Go
When things get tight, there’s often the temptation to get things on credit. If you are trying to stick to a budget, this can be a major problem, particularly if you aren’t keeping track of your money. Not only can it add unnecessary stress onto your budget it can also end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Review, Review, Review
Finally, one (fantastic) way to stick to everything is to use our budget planner to review and monitor your own progress. More durable than paper and more intuitive than a spreadsheet. Our tool gives you more awareness and can help you find the best deal on products when you do need to make a purchase.