Sticking to a Budget

by Matt

in Money Management

As young people we tend to not consider how much we are spending before it is too late.  We have all gone on to our bank’s online banking and shocked by the account balance; as it is often much lower than we anticipated.  This is an awful feeling that can be avoided if we have a budget set up.  Budgeting is not only important for avoiding overdraft fees but also to have money set aside to pay for bills and mandatory spending.  Budgeting can be difficult especially if you are out with friends.  Your money count can easily get away from you and soon you could be overspending and not following your budget.  Here are some ways to stick with your budget.

Use software such as Quicken.  There are quite a few online options that you can use such as Quicken that are designed to keep track of your spending and give you reminders on your current budget situation and helping you stay on track.  There are quite a few different ones such as Mint.com that can also be done on your mobile phone.  Doing some research can tell you what your best option is for your situation.

Make a list of things you like to do that do not cost money.  Another great way to save yourself from overspending is by making a list of things you like to do that are free.  That way when you are feeling the urge to spend money you have a visual that can help you try something a little more economical.  Your list can consist of anything from exercising to watching tv to reading a book.  The possibilities are endless but they can save you a pretty penny.

Negotiating with yourself.  Sometimes it can be hard to stick to your budget.  For instance maybe you allow yourself $200 for food and $100 for fun and you really want to go on a trip that is going to cost you $150.  Despite going over budget on fun you can still stay on track overall if you deduct $50 from food costs.  What you must do is weigh your options and make a pros and cons list that will help you make good decisions when it comes to negotiating with yourself.

Salvaging your budget when it goes south.  Sometimes you may be over budget in an overall sense and it can be hard to getting back to even and saving a month from overspending.  One thing that you can do is to round up old items that you no longer want and selling them on eBay or another similar site.  That way you will be able to gain a little money back if in the event that you go over your allowed amount.  If you have a job, see if you can pick up some overtime that week.

Keeping a budget and sticking to it can be a difficult task but an important one.  You must have a backup plan to have in the event that you overspend and even a plan to avoid overspending would be ideal as well.  Being able to negotiate with yourself is important part of keeping a budget. Knowing your limits is important so make a plan and stick with it.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

JohnNo Gravatar May 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

What a great idea to make a list of things that don’t cost so much money! I highly recommend this to those out there who tend to overspend.

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Fernando RNo Gravatar March 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

I like what you said about negotiating with yourself. I find myself doing that more often than not. I also try to not let other people influence the way I handle my money. I know what I can or can’t afford. Sometimes I look at my mint.com app on my phone to see what my budget looks like and it helps tremendously.

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Leonard @ The Wallet DoctorNo Gravatar March 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

These are awesome tips! Developing all of these can really help to managing your budget. Too many people fail to realize these points and never fully learn how to responsibly manage. Its unfortunate that more people don’t learn these skills in school. Thanks for sharing!

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John @ Wild AboutFinanceNo Gravatar July 30, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Creating all of these can really help to handling your price range. Too many people don’t recognize these factors and never completely learn how to sensibly handle.

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