Budgeting means you make a plan for your spending and take control of your money, rather than letting it trickle away without you realising. Sticking to a budget can be hard, and a budget is no good if you just make it and forget it. Here are a few useful tips to help you set a budget and stick to it.
Budgeting allows you to keep control of your spending once you’ve worked out your take-home pay. It helps you spend within your means so you don’t get into debt, and it can also help you if you are trying to save money to buy something big (like a new tablet, car, house, island, etc.).
How to stick to a budget
Here are some simple tips to keep you on track:
- Be realistic. Think about how much you spend now and your lifestyle. If you don’t leave any money in your budget for shopping but you’re sneaker addict, you’ll be sure to break it. It’s better to have a realistic budget that you stick to rather than an ambitious one that doesn’t mean anything.
- Set milestones. A large savings goal can sometimes seem impossible, but breaking it down into smaller chunks can help. Instead of focusing on your final goal of £2,000, aim for every £20. Allow yourself a little treat whenever you hit your mini-goal - you’ve earned it.
- Use an app. You need to have some way of tracking your spending to make sure you stay within budget. There are few better ways of doing so than with an app that you can take with you everywhere. They can help you set up a budget, give you reminders, and show visualisations of your progress.
- Use a Money Mantra Card. This printable card is kept in your wallet or purse. There’s one for instances when you’ve got some spare cash and one for when you don’t. Use the cards to ask yourself simple questions about your needs and budget before making a purchase and it’ll help you to stay on track.
- Update your budget as you need. Your financial circumstances might change, for better or worse. Keep an eye on how it's going, and adjust your budget to meet your needs and goals.
- Account for special and unexpected occasions. Birthdays, holidays, nights out and other special circumstances should all be factored into your monthly budget. Otherwise, when these occasions crop up, you might find your budget can’t handle it.