5 Tips That Will Help You Stick to Your Budget


For some people, sticking to a budget seems like an impossible task. You try so hard, and you mean so well, but somehow you always wind up spending more and saving less than you intended to.

If you're tired of beating yourself up at the end of each month and ready to make a change, try these 5 tricks that help make adhering to your budget a little easier.

1. Pay Yourself First

It can be hard to "find" the money to save if you wait to see what's left over at the end of the month, especially if you tend to spend money as soon as you get it.

Trick yourself into savings by paying yourself first.

As soon as you get your paycheck, put some money directly into savings, where you won't "see" it or be tempted to touch it. If you can't trust yourself to remember to do that, set up automatic transfers that will take care of it for you, or use a free app like Digit, which will automatically pull savings from your account based on your spending patterns.

2. Calculate What Your Time Is Worth

Reframe your mindset: think about your money in terms of the time it takes you earn it.

Let's say (for the sake of making the math easy) that you make $20 an hour. Are you willing to work an extra 2 hours to pay for that dinner out? Do those $100 concert tickets seem so fun when you calculate it will take you 5 hours at work to afford it? Remember, time isn't just money; money is also time.

3. Play the Waiting Game

Whenever you feel compelled to buy something you know you shouldn't, put it on layaway in your mind.

Write down whatever the item and price are, then note down 30 days from that date. After a month, revisit the item to see if you still want it as badly as you did when you first saw it.

Chances are, it will have lost its allure and you'll have forgotten why you wanted it so much in the first place. You may even have forgotten about it altogether.

4. Think Of Your Budget As Friend, Not Foe

Your budget isn't supposed to feel like a strict parent telling you all the things you're not allowed to do. It's just a tool that helps you use your money in a way that's most aligned with your values and priorities.

Whenever you start to feel resentful of your budget or contemplate breaking it, remind yourself of what those values and priorities are. Are you cutting back on cable to save money for a family vacation? Are you giving up eating out for a few months so you can build an emergency fund and some peace of mind?

5. Treat Yourself

Even the strictest of budgets has to allow a little room for fun, or it's guaranteed to make you crack under the pressure. Your "treat" doesn't have to be huge; maybe you buy fresh flowers for your kitchen table every other week or allow yourself to rent a movie once a month.

It's important to allow yourself to have some fun with your money, even if your budget is currently tight. It will help you stick to it without getting burnt out and backsliding.