How to Stick to Your Budget

How to Stick to your Budget

Setting a monthly budget is one thing, but actually sticking to your budget each and every month is another!  In today’s society, you’re constantly bombarded by temptations that can lead you away from your plan.  TV commercials, an enticing “sale” sign and a beautiful store display can all tempt you to spend outside of what you can afford in your budget.  Never mind that you may not like to delay gratification for something that you want today!

But, the truth is, what you decide to do today will determine your future.  Having a budget in place to help eliminate debt and not consciously sticking to it, may make our lives enjoyable today, but will give us much misery in the future.

Here are some tips to make sticking to a budget a bit easier:

Set specific financial goals

Since you’ve most likely put a budget in place so you can attain financial goals, it’s important to get specific by providing numbers and deadlines for your goals.  For example, instead of “My goal is to save enough for a down payment on a house”, a better one would be, “My goal is to save $2,083 a month for a 20% down payment on a $250,000 house in 24 months”.  Setting specific goals gives an idea of how well or how poorly you’re doing.  In turn, possibly enticing you to be more disciplined with your budgeting or allowing yourself a pat on the back!

Be realistic

In terms of goal setting, it’s important to set goals that are reasonable.  Not ones that are setting you up for failure right from the start.

It’s also important to be realistic when you’re setting up your monthly budget.  Say you’ve discovered that you spend, on average, $800 a month on groceries after you’ve tallied up your receipts from previous months.  Don’t decide that having a budget of $500 for groceries is “totally doable” since you have to “reach your financial goals as fast as you can because you’re so excited”.  This is just setting you up for failure. I’m not saying it’s not impossible to eventually get your budget down to $500 a month, you’ll just want to work slowly, one step at a time, at reducing your monthly grocery budget.How to stick to your budget. These are some fantastic budgeting tips to make sticking to a budget easier!

Have accountability

Think about the last time you started a workout routine or tried to kick a bad habit; having a partner by your side, holding you accountable is crucial. Involve your family (or a very good friend) in your plan. Explain why you need to scale back on some areas, and get their input and encouragement on those things. From here, review your budget once a week with your family (or very good friend) to make sure that you’re on track.  Not only is it good to have someone help keep you on track, it’s great to have someone helping you celebrate your successes!

Use cash

If you leave your debit cards and credit cards at home and only bring the amount of cash that you have budgeted, then that’s all you’ll be able to spend. So if your budget allows you $100 at the grocery store each week, then only bring $100 with you.  (These printable Cash Envelopes are a fantastic tool to help you organize your cash.)

You’ll be more likely to avoid those unnecessary items that might otherwise end up in your cart. They may not seem like a big deal because they’re only a few bucks, but when you end up at the checkout with $110 worth of items, you’ll be forced to put some things back, making you prioritize and forcing you to stick within your budget. If you had your debit card with you, chances are you’d think “It’s only a few dollars”, and you’ll find yourself short at the end of the month.

Remember your goals

As you go about the daily life of living within a budget, it’s important to remind yourself often of why you’re living on a budget. Is it because you want to save enough for that winter vacation? Or maybe it’s to pay off your consumer debt. Regardless, it’s important to constantly remember your financial goals to help fuel the excitement of what’s to come, if you manage to successfully stick to your budget. It could help to write down your financial goals and carry them around with you in your wallet or purse. Every time you pull out your cash and look at those goals, you’ll be reminded of the reason you have a budget.

Reward yourself

When you divide your big goal into several mini goals, make sure you reward yourself each time you accomplish one of those mini goals.  Not only will this help spur you on, you’ll also start to feel as though your big goal could definitely become a reality if you stick to it.  Your reward may be as simple as a long bubble bath or a bowl of ice cream; or as extravagant as a fancy dinner out.  Of course, as long as it is still within budget! Here are some great ideas to treat yourself for free.

What are the things that you do to make sticking to a budget easier? Let me know in the comments below.

No Spend Declutter Challenge: Day 18

Can you believe we have reached the last day in the No Spend Declutter Challenge? It’s so hard to believe we’ve been working away for nearly a month! I still have areas of my house that need some fine tuning, but overall, I’m quite happy! I think I brought in 5 boxes/bags to the second hand store.

One thing I wish I would have been better at, is using stuff we already have in our pantry and freezer. I feel like I still spent the same amount on groceries as I do every month.

Day 18 Declutter Task:

We’re going to close out the month with something that I like to do about once a month or so. A digital declutter. This is when I go though my email accounts and delete emails I no longer need. Unsubscribe from newsletters that don’t interest me any longer. Unfollow social media accounts and delete photos off my phone and computer that are no longer needed.

It’s sort of a mindless task, but feels so good to have only the stuff you need and the stuff you love in the end!

How often do you do a digital declutter?

Day 18 No Spend Task:

Remember when a couple of weeks ago, our task was to create “wants” list? Well, today, we’re going to revisit that list.

When you revisit your list, cross off the things you realize you no longer want. With the items that are still on the list, I want to encourage you to try buying used, borrowing from friends or family, or asking in a local Buy Nothing Facebook group.

I know you will will feel just as satisfied with those options when you receive the items you want!

I’d love to know, after nearly an entire month of not spending unnecessarily, how many things do you no longer want or need?

Thank you so much for joining me this month! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I will be posting each task in the Simply Frugal No Spend Declutter Challenge Facebook Group. This is where most of the discussion will be happening.

I will also be posting random progress reports throughout the challenge over at Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #nospenddeclutter to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge!

If you do not use social media, I would love to read your comments on each task, right here, below each challenge post on SimplyFrugal.ca!

No Spend Declutter Challenge: Day 17

Day 17 Declutter Task:

Today, we’re going to tackle our desk areas. Now this year, things might look different than normal. You may be using a table as a make shift desk for school or work at home. So I guess you can tidy up the spot you call a work area!

In our home, I have a desk, but the girls are the ones who use it right now for making crafts and colouring. (We are fortunate to have in-class school!) My husband also has a desk that tends to get cluttered up with toys because it’s in our basement where most of the toys are. So today, I’ll tidy them up and make sure all the random items are in their proper place.

Day 17 No Spend Task:

Well, once again, we’re going to intentionally not spend money on unnecessary things! But we are almost finished! Have you noticed a big change in your mindset? Are you less tempted to purchase random items now?

I will be posting each task in the Simply Frugal No Spend Declutter Challenge Facebook Group. This is where most of the discussion will be happening.

I will also be posting random progress reports throughout the challenge over at Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #nospenddeclutter to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge!

If you do not use social media, I would love to read your comments on each task, right here, below each challenge post on SimplyFrugal.ca!

No Spend Declutter Challenge: Day 16

Day 16 Declutter Task:

Today, we’re going to declutter and organize our craft/hobby supplies. While we don’t have a dedicated craft room, I still find it very helpful to occasionally go through our craft supplies! I seem to have bins all over the house. I’ll be sorting through my daughters’ craft supplies too. Actually, mainly their supplies. I’m still trying to figure out what my hobby is. 😛

When we moved into our house almost four years ago (!!), we purchased a few of these ALEX drawer units from IKEA. My husband created a desk out of them by placing a piece of pine board overtop. It has been the most wonderful set up for the girls!

Here are some links to great craft organization tips that I thought you might enjoy:

Day 16 No Spend Task:

Once again today, we’re going to keep it simple, and not spend money on anything unnecessary. What did you do yesterday for your self care? I ended up with an hour to myself so I forced myself to not do any chores and read a book!

I will be posting each task in the Simply Frugal No Spend Declutter Challenge Facebook Group. This is where most of the discussion will be happening.

I will also be posting random progress reports throughout the challenge over at Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #nospenddeclutter to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge!

If you do not use social media, I would love to read your comments on each task, right here, below each challenge post on SimplyFrugal.ca!

No Spend Declutter Challenge: Day 15

Day 15 Declutter Task:

Today we’re going to start a task that I dread. Filing paper. I’m not sure why I don’t like it so much, because when I do take the time to to it, it really doesn’t take that long. Once it’s done I’m always left feeling satisfied too! I just don’t know…

I think it was about a year ago that I overhauled our filing system and I’m really liking it! If you are in need of some filing system inspiration, here are some great links:

Related: Tips to Tame the Paper Clutter

Do you have a system that works well for you?  Care to share your tips in the comments?

Day 15 No Spend Task:

I definitely think it’s time for some intentional self-care, don’t you think? If you can’t find time today, make some time this week! Here are some ideas for self care that you may enjoy:

What do you do for self care?

I will be posting each task in the Simply Frugal No Spend Declutter Challenge Facebook Group. This is where most of the discussion will be happening.

I will also be posting random progress reports throughout the challenge over at Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #nospenddeclutter to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge!

If you do not use social media, I would love to read your comments on each task, right here, below each challenge post on SimplyFrugal.ca!

No Spend Declutter Challenge: Day 14

Can you believe we are starting our final week of the No Spend Declutter Challenge? I’m finding it hard to believe, but I’m also ready for February! 😀

This week, we’re going to jump around the house a bit with the decluttering tasks to work on areas that I think, will have a big impact.

Day 14 Declutter Task:

Today’s activity for the Declutter portion is to sort through our books and magazines.

I’m so torn with books though. I have some I’m keeping only because I loved reading them when I was younger and I thought my daughters might enjoy them one day. Silly? I’m not sure! However, today, I am determined to declutter at least a few books.

I’ve been buying (and borrowing) less books lately because I bought a Kindle a couple of years ago. I avoided those electronic devices for so long, but in the end they really spoke to my “wanting less clutter” side. And now I’m in love with the thing. I actually read more often! And I love that I can have so many books when we go away! (That day WILL come again!)

Do you have any books or magazines you can be rid of?

Day 14 No Spend Task:

Well, once again, we’re going to keep things simple. No spending on unnecessary things.

In full disclosure, yesterday, I bought groceries for the week. However, I did purchase a pair of $6 pajamas for my daughter because all of her one piece pj’s have holes. Could I have waited another week to get her a pair? For sure. But, Walmart actually had her size (in the boy section) so I snapped it up. I’m feeling okay with that! 🙂

Have you had any slip ups lately? I’d love to know!

I will be posting each task in the Simply Frugal No Spend Declutter Challenge Facebook Group. This is where most of the discussion will be happening.

I will also be posting random progress reports throughout the challenge over at Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #nospenddeclutter to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge!

If you do not use social media, I would love to read your comments on each task, right here, below each challenge post on SimplyFrugal.ca!