Many times they are complicated, take too much maintenance, or require too much discipline.
However, the majority of financially-wise individuals will attest that their financial security all started with a budget that worked for them.
This is the year that you can find a budget that will work for you and your family. Here are a few tips to create a budget for your finances that you will stick to.
Find a Program and Stick to It
There are so many budgeting programs and methods available, both free and paid. Read reviews and find one that you think will work for you. The most important part is that you stick to it. No program will work if you don’t give it a good try.
When it comes to picking a budget tool or program, it’s similar to picking a workout to lose weight. There are so many good workouts, but the only workout that actually works is the one you will do.
Give a program a few months before you determine if it’s the best one for you. You really don’t want to be wasting time or money jumping from program to program.
Some popular methods include budget jars and the envelope system. Some great budgeting software can be found with Mint.com, PersonalCapital.com, You Need a Budget, and Mvelopes. There are many more options available, too.
Evaluate Your Budget at the End of the Month
Either by yourself or as a couple (if you are married), sit down and go through your budget for the previous month. Here are a few questions to ask yourself or partner when you go through your budget progress:
- Where did you overspend?
- Why did you overspend in a category?
- Is your budget for one category realistic or setting you up for failure?
- Where do you need to cut down?
- Which areas need more wiggle room?
- Are there any upcoming expenses we need to plan for?
- Are there any categories that we need more money in for the upcoming month (i.e. a larger gas and fast food budget for an upcoming road trip)?
Remember the Purpose of a Budget
Many people get the idea that budgets are supposed to be a super strict way to save more money. The real purpose of a budget is to give every cent you have a purpose and home.
Everyone’s budget will look different, and there’s no need to feel guilty if your grocery budget is higher than another family’s.
The point is that you know exactly what you’re spending every month. If you fail to plan where your money goes, then it will quickly go to unplanned expenses or money wasters. That is just the way it is with money.
If you don’t budget for savings or for an upcoming big expense, then chances are you will waste that money on something else.
Making a budget and sticking to it requires discipline, so don’t expect it to be second nature. Remember that you will probably mess up when first nailing down your budget, and that it may take a few months to finally get the right budget for you and your finances.
Do you currently have a budget in place to help you control your spending? If not, what hasn’t worked for you?