A budget is a must if you want to save money. Trying to achieve financial goals is a flawed plan without a budget in mind. Creating a plan that works is only half the job. Sticking to the plan is the vital part of financial goal-setting. This action is often the most challenging when it comes to money management. Organisations like Debt Rescue can help you if you need a starting point. If you learn how to stick to your budget you’ll avoid a bunch of future financial mistakes.
Here is a list of five surefire ways to stick to your budget and achieve your financial goals
Think of cost in terms of your time
When tempted to buy something new look at the cost of that item in a different way. Work out how long you had to work to earn the money for the intended purchase. Now ask yourself – is this item worth, such as, the ten-or-so hours of the time stolen from the family, friends or a hobby you might love? If you think the item is still worth it – go ahead and buy it! Though generally you will find you’ll be less inclined to give up those earnings when you consider how hard it was to attain the funds in the first place.
Visualise your financial goals
Keep your financial goals clear and in front of you always. Whether your goal is to save for a road trip over Christmas, to secure the latest smartphone, drive a new car, or get out of debt, make sure you keep this goal in front of you. For example, keep it as a screen saver on your phone or stick it to the fridge. Alternatively, stick it to the dash in your car or place it on the mirror you look into every morning. Whatever means you choose make sure the goal is in front of you often. Visualisation is an extremely powerful tool and a picture is much more motivating that words on a page.
Set some smaller goals
Set milestones for your financial goals so that you are breaking bigger goals down into smaller chunks. This way you will build momentum and a continuous sense of achievement. Achieving smaller goals will stop you losing motivation. For example, if your goal is to save a large deposit for a home you might be looking at living frugally for a few years. This can be depressing – unless you are creative with being frugal like me! By setting smaller savings goals and rewards along the way you will be able to ‘tick off’ savings and feel proud and inspired along the way. Enjoying small rewards is vital to achieving these goals. For example, buy a small item for your home every time a monthly goal is met.
Stay disciplined and avoid spending where possible. Ask – What am I giving up to have that item now? Keep the big picture in mind at all times using the visualisation techniques described above. If the latest fashion in shoes means you have to live with your parents for six more months longer, are those shoes really that special? Or would getting into your own place sooner be a better trade-off? Get into the habit of questioning every purchase and its viability. This way you’ll always stick to your budget.
Set a challenge to see how creative you can be each month. How much can you shave down each household expense? See if you can cut your grocery bill in half this month. What can you cook and eat for this amount of money? Start going on the hunt for specials and see what you can cook up with those sale items at the supermarket. You might surprise yourself and your loved ones with a new dish and even a culinary masterpiece!
With the intense marketing happening out there, the temptation to spend is stronger than ever and this makes sticking to a budget even harder. Stay focused, disciplined and motivated while you keep your eyes on the prize.
Tip: Be sure to hang out more on sites like the Savings Room to keep that momentum up! After all, you are a product of your environment!
Most of all – if I can do it – so can you!
How do you motivate yourself to stick to your budget? Share your top tips in the comments box below.