Understanding, establishing, and honoring a budget is critical. But sticking to a budget can be challenging for even the best financial guru. Sure, at times, sheer will power will keep you motivated to uphold the spending plan you’ve established. At other times though, you’ll need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. The best way to keep your finances in check is to be prepared, and these tactics will get you there. Here are a few easy ways to trick yourself into saving money when temptation strikes.
A Strong Support System
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is an important step in sticking to a budget. It’s wise to be communicative about your goals with close family and friends. Consider an accountability partner to help you achieve your financial goals. Try a budget app like Unsplurge that connects you to others trying to reach their budget goals. For those who are really looking to dive in, hiring a financial advisor can be a wise move. Trick number one? Phone a friend and enlist support.
Emergency Backup Fund
Imagine: You’re getting ready to host all your closest family and friends for a yummy dinner. Of course, the stove chooses this day to quit working! Nothing kills a budget faster than being unprepared for this type of scenario. From now on, take a portion of each paycheck and deposit the funds into a savings account. Streamline your savings by setting it to auto transfer each month so you don’t even think about it. It’s what financial planners refer to as “pay yourself first.” You’ll be thankful you did!
There’s an App for That
Put that little pocket computer to work for you and your budget goals. Use a money management app to help keep your budget on track. The ease and accessibility of checking your finances on your phone can make sticking to your budget a simple task. And when the budgeting icon is right next to your social media button, you’re much more likely to see it (and use it!) often. Small tricks like this can make a big difference over time.
Free Activities on Standby
Sometimes, sticking to a budget requires that you spend nothing. But it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Get creative and find some free activities ahead of time, so you have plans at a moment’s notice. Consider things like free movies in the park, a free museum day or free days at the city pool. A simple internet search can help you locate fun, free things to do in your own city. Do you live near a National Park? Throughout the year, they offer free entrance days. Find an activity that the whole family can enjoy! These activities are ones you can enjoy every year.
Starting and sticking to a budget can be a challenge, and sometimes willpower isn’t enough. To stay committed to your financial goals, establish a few of these tactics to get ahead. For more details, click here for the full blog post, which originally appeared at www.mycvcu.org.