Staying on Budget

Creating a budget can be tough. Staying on budget can be even tougher. Here are some tips for staying on budget without getting frustrated and throwing in the towel.

  • Cash is King: Take out enough cash to last one week at a time. Make up your mind that the cash you have is all you get for discretionary expenses, or things you could live without, each week.

  • Eliminate Bad Habits: Put the money you use on items like alcohol or impulse shopping sprees toward your other expenses, such as credit card debt.

  • Pay Down Debt: Choose one card—ideally, the one with the highest interest rate—and pay as much as you can on it every month, while you pay minimums on the others. Continue on the same path with your other cards until you are debt-free. One other thing: You must stop using those cards as much as possible.

  • Keep track of your spending. You’re less likely to overspend if you realize how much money has actually gone through your hands.

  • Balance Your Checkbook: If you balance up every time you get a bank statement, you can make sure you stay on target with your budget.

  • Analyze Your Spending: Look through your budget and all your receipts. Can you find an expense that can be cut? Cutting Starbucks or eating out for lunch every day can increase your money flow for other expenses or savings.

  • Consider Special Accounts: If you have a hard time saving, consider using direct deposit. What you don’t see, you won’t miss, and the savings can add up quickly. If you keep reaching into your savings, then set up a CD (Certificate of Deposit) or an account with early withdrawal penalties.

  • Create Some Wiggle Room: Try to allow some extra money for unexpected expenses.

Following these tips can help you stick to your budget, and you can feel good about keeping your finances under control.

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