After writing a post on Tuesday about how to make a budget I thought I would do a follow up post on how to stick to your budget. Budgeting is such an effective tool if used correctly and in a way that suits your needs, but sticking to it may be the hard part.

 

3 easy ways to stick to a budget:

1) Don’t make it too tight. There are two camps in respects to a budget; those who budget to the penny and those who budget and hope for some left over. I am not a fan of budgeting to the very last penny, just in case there are any unexpected expenses during the month that I’d rather not dip into my emergency fund to cover. I usually try and leave about £100 left in the budget for this. A very rigid budget with no breathing room in it isn’t a fair representation of life; we all have those unexpected expenses crop up from time to time

 

2) Be realistic. It’s all very well making a budget for every category and then being realistic about what you actually spend. Like I said in the last post, if you don’t know how much you spend on certain aspects, then now is the time to start to monitor! There’s no point in saying “£100 on food for four for a month, we can do that!” when you normally spend £250 as it’s not a realistic aim for your budget. Also, allow for some treats if your budget allows, so that you don’t go mad without anything!

 

3) Planning. A budget will only work if you plan for things in advance and plan when you’re going to spend. For example, I don’t spend anything during the week so they are NSDs (see more on that here) but I know that I normally spend on a Saturday, so plan most of my spending for that day. Little spends during the week and other unplanned spends add up to a lot during the month whereas if you plan ahead, these can be eliminated.

 

What do you think; do you agree with me? Any other tips for sticking to a budget? Or do you hate budgeting and don’t do it? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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