Last week, I posted 5 Tips on How to Set a Budget. Now this week, we’ll discuss how to Maintain a Budget.
Creating a budget isn’t very difficult to do, it’s maintaining the budget that is the challenge. Maintaining a personal budget requires discipline, flexibility and regular attention. It usually starts with good intentions, but it’s easy to place it aside and not look at it again. Below are tips to help you maintain a successful budget.
1. Stay Positive
If you think of budgeting as a chore you’ll find that it is extremely difficult to keep it going. Stay focused on the positive aspects of having a budget such as what benefits you’ll receive by maintaining a budget. This could be saving money for a family vacation, retirement, a new home, or getting out of debt sooner. Budgeting is the tool to reach your financial short-term and long-term goals.
2. Be Realistic
Set goals that are challenging, yet realistic. If you set your goals too high, you’ll just get discourage when you fail to reach them. Begin by setting bite-size goals that will help you reach your bigger goals. This will help keep your goals manageable.
3. Keep the Budget with You
Carry a hard copy or easily accessible electronic copy of your budget with you. If you see a new outfit you want to buy, you can look to see if you’ve got the budget for it. If you don’t have enough in your budget, then you can either sacrifice something else to get it, or walk away and wait until the next month when you do have enough in the budget.
4. Review Budget Regularly
On a regular basis, sit down to review your budget to see if you are on track and whether the budget is realistic. If you continually exceed your limits in one category, then re-evaluate what you are doing and adjust the amount allowed on your budget as needed. This may mean that you’ll have to sacrifice other items in order to give yourself more budget in that category.
5. Reward Yourself
Sometimes the budget will become too much of a routine, and you lose motivation and become complacent. Make sure to budget some money to go out and have fun. Just a small amount of money set aside, so you can go out to eat a few times a month or go to a movie each month, will help you feel balanced.
Also, look for something that will push you to reach your goals. For example, if you have a goal to pay off your car in 12 months, challenge yourself to pay it off in 11 months. If you are able to do it, reward yourself with something you enjoy.
If you can continue to push yourself to reach your goals, you’ll be able to keep the motivation needed to maintain your budget.
Do you have any tips on how to maintain a budget?
And here is another article about finances:
How to Effectively Talk Finances with Your Spouse