Need Help Sticking to a Budget?
Curb your financial worries with a Simple Budget!
“A budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations”.... Jacob Lew.
Sticking to a budget is not as difficult a task as it seems, but it is an enormously rewarding and satisfying one. Telling your money where to go and what to do each month gives you a feeling of control, peace of mind and helps you plan for the future.
Budgets help individuals track and manage their resources. However, some individuals use a variety of budgets to measure their spending and develop effective strategies for maximizing their income and expenditures. The following are commonly known budget types:
-and recently I read of time and attention budget.
Whichever budget type you choose to use, discipline is a necessity in sticking to the plan as it isn’t always easy, even when you’ve drawn up a great budget. You may be flooded with various temptations, to dip into your rent savings to purchase a great new pair of heels on sales. Do not underestimate the power of the “I want” part of your brain as it can be very persuasive and hard to resist.
Ladies, do you have a financial dream? The first step to get there is with a “budget”. It allows you to create a master plan for your money that reflects your goals and priorities, whatever they may be.
Having a budget doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of the things you love. If you want to go out for dinner every night or enjoy a massage every now and again, that’s totally fine! As long as your budget responsibly caters for those things (i.e., they don’t interfere with paying children’s school fee or rents), why not?
Budgeting affords you the opportunity to enjoy your money without worrying about it because it’s all part of your highly individualized and customized plan.
Ladies, here are a few things that will help you stick to your budget, even when your willpower is feeling weak.
1. Be Real
2. Find an Accountability Partner
3. Watch Your Expenditure & Spending
4. Use Separate Accounts (compartmentalize)
Come to terms with what you earn (income) and plan only with the assured inflow; ensure your plan isn’t based on futuristic/expected/unearned income. With a realistic plan, you can cut or trim certain areas in your budget which will enable you pay down debt or save for an upcoming vacation, good for you. However, it’s important to make sure your budget is consistent with income at all times for it to be realistic. Don’t continually plan with fluctuating income which undulate either incrementally or otherwise. You don’t have to cut back your feeding/grocery budget so much that you’re eating rice and beans every night or throw out your whole fun/entertainment budget and resign yourself to a boring life.
Feeling deprived will put you on the fast track to being dissatisfied and may eventually lead to budget rebellion and throwing the whole idea of budgeting out the window. Cut back within reason, but don’t cut out everything you love.
Find an Accountability Partner
It really helps to have someone who is on the same team as you when it comes to your budget. This might be a family member or your spouse, though that’s certainly not my case. My husband is an impulsive spender, and I’m a compulsive saver. So, our money views don’t match up well.
To help you stay on track with your budget, you can design a weekly budget, check-in with a friend via social media, whatsapp, Facebook or speak directly. The sessions with this person allows you admit where you’ve messed up and need policing . Having her encouragement and support helps keep you on track and stay focused.
Watch Your Expenditure & Spending
A little 'here-and-there' spending every day really adds up quickly. Those daily trips to the nearest “Aboki/Mallam” down the road for little forgotten items like packs of orbit biscuit or pure bliss wafers (which you can do without), or swinging by Domino’s for a cup of cold-stone ice-cream, or going into Shop-Rite to buy one thing and coming out with a cartload of 'must-haves'? These actions all have the potential to derail your budget.
Curb the 'death-by-a-thousand-small-purchases' by designating a no-spend day (or two or three!) each week. If you don’t have exactly the right ingredients, improvise. Need paper towels? Use a regular towel for just one day. You will survive.
Use Separate Accounts
One thing I’ve found tremendously useful in curbing my bad budget habit is using a seperate/compartmentalised account system. You put cash in an account weekly or monthly for certain spending categories (like food, new clothes, aso-ebi, holidays/vacations etc.), and once the money’s gone, it’s gone. No borrowing here and there. No cash advance for the next week or month. You can’t overspend if the money’s not there!
Food for Thought: “A budget tells us what we can or can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it”.