September 4th, 2021 | Updated on October 3rd, 2021
A budget can be a lifesaver. It helps you pay down your debt, save money for your retirement, and meet your financial goals. But it isn’t easy to stick to it. These tips can help you stick to your spending plan and make sure you don’t lose track of your financial goals.
How To Stick To Your Spending Plan
1. Make A Meal Plan
A thorough meal plan can do wonders for your budget. Food is an essential expense, so you’ll always be spending money on this budget item, but there are ways you cut down on your costs by thinking ahead.
When you don’t have a meal plan and a well-stocked kitchen, you’re one bad day away from skipping the lines and ordering takeout you can’t afford.
Plus, planning out a week or two’s worth of meals can help you save by buying more groceries in bulk.
2. Cut Your Interest Rates
Need your budget to stretch further? Cut interest rates on the debt that you owe. Interest is just money you pay for the privilege of carrying a balance month-to-month.
When you get your rates reduced, you have more money each month for necessary expenses or paying down the principal.
Talk to certified credit counsellors about ways to negotiate with your creditors. A non-profit credit counselling agency can help you renegotiate your interest rates, develop a debt repayment plan, and help create your budget.
3. Find A Cheaper Way To Get Around
Cars are one of the biggest monthly expenses you can carry. Cutting it out of your budget will make a huge difference.
One of the problems with getting rid of your car is that it may not get rid of your car loan.
Depending on the term of your loan, it can take years before the equity you have in the vehicle will pay off the rest of the loan because depreciation is so rapid.
But if you’re driving a car that’s close to being paid off, the cost of gas, insurance, repairs, and parking alone are relentlessly expensive.
It may not be an option for everyone, but if you can get to work and errands on transit or a bike, you can make huge progress on debt.
4. Track Your Spending
There are dozens of apps out there that you can use to automatically track your spending, whether you use debit, credit, or smartphone payments.
If you pay with cash or don’t want an app tracking your spending, you can also keep notes on your phone or use a good old-fashioned notebook.
Tracking your spending on a daily or weekly basis gives you a real-time picture of your spending. It’s the first step toward building a budget, so you can see what your real expenses are.
It’s also a good practice to continue so that you can tell whether you’re on track or need to trim your spending quickly.
5. Use A Weekly Allowance
The toughest but most effective way to stick to your plan is using the cash budget. This is where you predetermine how much money you can spend by giving yourself a weekly allowance (i.e., an envelope of cash or a digital alternative).
You’ll have to start by finding out how much you need accurately. The point isn’t to starve yourself; it’s to make sure you cut out excess spending and limit your impulse buys.