Sticking to a budget
We have all heard how important it is to have a budget, especially in these times. It’s fairly easy to make a budget, but the hard part is sticking to a budget. Here are some tips to help with that:
1. Is your budget accurate for your situation? For example, if you budget $50 a week for food and you are a family of four, that may not be accurate. You might need to re-evaluate what you have budgeted for this area.
2. Review the areas of your budget that are most easily changed, and reduce expenses there. For example, if you budget $75 a month for hair care, you may want to shop around and find someplace that can do it for $50 – saving you $25 a month to use in a more critical budget area.
3. Be disciplined in your habits and avoid impulse buys. You probably have heard the old saying, “Don’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry.” This is true, because you will most likely end up buying stuff you would not ordinarily buy.
4. Be creative in budgeting ideas. Many people are starting to view budgeting as a challenge rather than a mundane way of life. Try to have fun with it. For example, my wife and I love to eat out on occasion. For us the fact of not cooking is the advantage. Many times we will order carry-out, and pick only one entrée rather than two. In most cases it is enough food anyway, and it allows us to watch our calories and save money eating out. We have drinks at home so we actually cut our eating-out expense more than half.
5. Reward yourself if you can. Let’s face if, we here in America like to be rewarded – good or bad, it has become part of our culture. If you have been successful in your budgeting all month, go out with co-workers that last Friday of the month to have lunch with them.