Deciding that you want to be more organised and thoughtful with the way that you spend your money is easy. Changing your spending strategy to suit those goals isn’t quite as simple. Sometimes, it can take months, or even years to overcome bad spending habits and get our financial strategy into the shape that we want it to be in. The good news is that anyone can update and improve their cash plan.
There are a few thing that any great budget needs to be successful. The first thing is the right attitude. Without a desire to manage your money properly, you’re going to find it hard to stay motivated when you’re tempted to buy things that aren’t accounted for in your budget.
Here are just some of the other tools you’re going to need.
As tempting as it might be to tell yourself that you don’t “really” spend that much on takeaway, it’s important to be brutally honest when you’re creating your budget. You’ll need to go through your bank statements in depth and think about the money that you spend outside of your bank cards too. Once you’ve created a full list of expenses, you can begin to think about where it’s going to be easiest for you to cut costs.
A Realistic Mindset
As well as having a desire to save money, you’re also going to need a realistic mindset. After all, as much as you might want to suddenly end up putting £100 a month into your savings account, if you can’t find £10 right now, then it’s going to be tough to achieve that goal. Think about how much you can reasonably cut back on some of the luxury expenses that you’re dealing with now. You don’t have to give everything up that you enjoy, but you do need to be willing to compromise.
You could have just one goal that helps to keep you motivated when you have a budget, or you could have dozens. The important thing is that you can remind yourself why you’re making an effort to cut down on your spending in the first place. If you don’t have reasonable goals in mind, then it’s going to be hard to remind yourself why you shouldn’t buy anything when you see an item that you want on sale.
A Plan for the Future
Just because you want to cut down on spending, doesn’t mean that you need to say no to every expense. It could be helpful to think about your costs in terms of what’s going to pay off for you in the long-term, and what isn’t. For instance, if you want to take out a loan for a new car, that might not seem like a good idea. However, if you’re taking out that loan so that you can go to a job further across town each day and make more money, then it definitely makes more sense.
A Way to Avoid Temptation
You’re always going to have moments of temptation when you’re working within a budget. The key is to find a way to stop yourself from spending when you really want to. Some people remove all of their payment details from websites so that they have to track down a credit card before they spend. This can give you more time to think before you use your money. You could also think about paying for everything with cash, instead of a card, so you think more carefully about each penny that you use.
An Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses can mess up even the best budgeting strategies. Since it’s practically impossible to predict everything that might happen in your life, having an emergency fund in place that you can tap into for everything from sudden bills to unexpected birthday parties can make a big difference. Start putting money into your emergency fund before you consider putting money away for your other goals. You’ll thank yourself later.
Finally, your budget isn’t a set it and forget it strategy; it’s something you need to keep coming back and improving all of the time. Set a schedule with yourself so that you can consistently come back and look at your budget once every couple of months. You might decide to change your budget earlier than this if something major happens in your life. Then stick to your schedule, and update your budget whenever and however you can.