You’ve prepared a spending plan, and it looks good on paper. Great! Now, it’s time to execute.
But are you ready to follow the budget you created?
Here are three easy tricks to keep you on track.
#1 Remember why you made a budget.
Do you want to pay off your student loans?
Take a one-year career break to travel the world?
Retire . . . before you die?
Presumably, you developed a budget for good reasons. So write down what those reasons are.
Display your goals in a prominent place where you can read them often. Usually, we just need to remind ourselves why we set out to achieve a particular goal.
When the road gets rough, knowing why you embarked on the journey in the first place may be all the motivation required to keep you moving.
#2 Set small, super short-term goals.
If you can’t see any measurable progress, it’s hard to keep up the discipline necessary to stick to your budget. Form short-term goals that you can celebrate achieving.
If you aim to trim your grocery bill by $100 per month, then set a goal to cut food costs by $25 per week.
Likewise, if you estimate it’ll take three years to pay off a $15,000 student loan, celebrate the elimination of $2,500 of debt every six months. Use tools like Payoff.com or Mint.com to track how much you’ve paid off.
#3 Identify your weak spots and develop a plan to battle them.
In adhering to your budget, you need a clear idea of where you’er prone to overspend. If you’re an impulse spender, then don’t tempt yourself.
If you want to window shop, either leave your credit cards at home OR don’t go! In the early days of sticking to your budget, it’s important to break bad money habits right away.
Making a budget is really the easy part in financial management. It’s application of the budget that’s challenging.
By staying disciplined and practicing healthy, spending behaviors, you can achieve your budget goals.