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How to Follow Through With Your Budget

Do you ever make a budget but can seem to stick to it? These tips can help you avoid some of the common budgeting pitfalls.

By: Nick Massie / 2018 / PayYourRent.com
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Budgets are like diets. Many people start them, only to fall back into old habits within a few weeks. So, how do we form solid habits and break the cycle? These tips will give you a strategy to successfully maintain a budget.

 

Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

Bringing your credit card on a night on the town is a very easy way to lose track of your spending. Luckily, there’s an easy solution to easily curb the temptation to overspend.

When you go out with friends on the weekend, take only cash. If you want to spend only $40 on dinner and drinks that night, then only bring $40 with you. That way the temptation is gone and you’ll feel aware of how much you are actually spending.

If you’re worried about needing more funds in an emergency, consider leaving extra cash or a card in the glove box of your car. If you aren’t driving, it seems likely your friends could loan you a few bucks in a pinch.

Create a habit of leaving the house with a set amount of cash, and you will change the way you look at spending. Another benefit of using only cash on a night out, is you’re able to more accurately know track how much you’ve spent. The more often you practice good habits with money, the better you will get at naturally gauging your spending.

 

Online Shopping – The Discipline Hack

The internet has changed retail shopping in many ways. We believe in supporting local business. We’re not suggesting you do all your shopping online, but there are some cases where it would make sense.

Several stores will now let you order your groceries ahead of time, then pick them up at a specified time, maybe on your way home from work. It is convenient, as it can save you a lot of time, but ordering early is also practical for those trying to budget properly.

If you don’t have to walk through every aisle, there is no chance to peruse. Eliminating that stroll through the stores means you can’t toss anything on sale into your cart or cave and buy the bag of candy. It’s good for those trying to follow a diet plan, too!

Walking down a large isle can create “shiny object syndrome,” or  fear of missing out. Eliminate overthinking and stick to a shopping list. It will save you energy, time and money.

 

Get Thrifty

It’s unlikely you’re going to stop shopping completely, even on a budget, as clothes are a necessity. But designer clothes with recognizable names on the label are not. Rather than looking for brand new items first, instead start at local thrift stores and second-hand shops.

Usually, you can find good quality clothing at a much more affordable price. Places like Goodwill also have books, toys, and games for much cheaper than traditional stores.

Also check online retailers such as Ebay to get cheaper or slightly used clothes for a huge markdown. Buying clothes second hand doesn’t mean you don’t have to have style. Many second hand clothing stores have high standards for trade in items, and you will still get quality clothes at a great price.

 

BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)

Buying a drink when thirsty is an easy thing to overlook. Water is vital, after all. But that daily juice or soda or coffee can be skipped. If you always have a drink with you — and the healthiest drink you can have — you’re far less likely to mindlessly throw away two or three dollars on one. Plus, if you buy a reusable water bottle, you can feel good about helping the planet, too.

 

Think of Money in Terms of Hours Worked

When you are considering making a purchase, don’t ask yourself if it is worth the money; that’s too easy. Ask yourself, “How many hours of work would I have to put in to afford this?” Thinking of it in this way makes the money more tangible, more real. An item can become a lot less tempting when you know you’d have to work seven hours to pay for it. How many hours would you be willing to trade in exchange for an item? When you put a purchase in that context the decision to buy can be made more clear.

 

What’s Next?

For even more ideas to help you meet all your budget goals, sign up for our “Be Money Smart & Build Your Credit History” newsletter. It provides practical advice and the chance to win free rent!