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  • Writer's pictureSheron Olivine

Top 20 Budgeting Tips to Stay on Track – Part 1 of 2


Do you struggle with sticking to your budget each month? If you do…don’t worry, you’re not alone. It's a very common problem, but it doesn't have to be so. Don't let your budget be the boss of you anymore! You can take charge of your money and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with financial stability. It's not easy, but with the right attitude, determination and a few proven strategies, you can stick to your budget and thrive.


To help you get started, I've put together a list of the top 20 budgeting tips to help you stay on track. In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on the first 10 tips that can help you monitor expenses, increase your savings and manage your money more effectively.


1. Yes, the secret is out… Begin with a budget plan (your road map):

Start by creating a budget plan that lists all your monthly expenses and income as this is essential for effective money management and paves the way to financial freedom. This roadmap ensures that your monthly expenses and income are in sync, while still allowing for savings.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on creating your personalized budget plan and taking the first step towards your ultimate financial destination!


2. Use a budgeting method that works for you:

Different budgeting methods work for different people. Experiment with popular methods such as the envelope system or the 50/20/30 rule [50% needs: 20% savings & investments: 30% wants], to find the one that works best for you. Whichever you choose, this should be communicated with your partner/family so that everyone works together to achieve the budgetary goals.


3. Prioritize your expenses:

Prioritize essential expenses by separating them into necessities and wants. This way, you can focus on spending on what you need first, for e.g. housing, food, transportation and utilities. You should treat your rainy day/emergency fund as an essential. Non-essentials MUST fit in the remaining balance.


4. Track your spending:

Keep track of your expenses to make sure you are staying within your budget. If paper and pen or an Excel spreadsheet aren’t for you, use a budgeting app that allows you to know how much money you have left in your budget at any time during the month. One main benefit of a budgeting app is that you can sync your budget with your spouse/family and this is great for keeping the lines of communication open.


Using a budgeting app such as Mint, YNAB, or Personal Capital can help you stay on course with your budget by tracking your spending, categorizing your expenses and sending you alerts when you overspend. Remember, at a minimum use paper and pen.



5. Don’t shoot the messenger but … LIMIT your discretionary spending:

Curtail or limit your spending on non-essential items such as dining out, shopping and entertainment. This is similar to impulse buying, that is, buying stuff on a whim and possibly derailing your budget. Short term emotional purchases will only give you temporary gratification.


6. Avoid lifestyle inflation:

As your income increases, it can be tempting to increase your spending. Avoid this lifestyle inflation by sticking to your budget and saving the extra money or putting it towards paying off a debt. Avoid any impulse purchases by waiting 24 hours before acting. This will give you time to think about whether the purchase is really necessary.


7. Use cash for your discretionary spending:

E-Commerce facilitates acquisitions so easily with a credit or debit card and oftentimes lead to us buying things that were never in our budgets. Using cash instead of credit for your discretionary purchases, can help you stay within your budget by limiting your spending to the cash you have available.


8. Set specific financial goals:

Set specific and measurable financial goals, such as saving 10% of total income towards paying off credit card debt or building a rainy day/emergency fund. This can help you stay motivated and on track with your budget. Ensure that these goals are realistic and align with your budget plan. Believe me, it can help you avoid disappointment and stay motivated. Furthermore, when you document or write down your financial goals you are more inclined to honour them.


9. Automate your savings:

This is called the set it and forget it method of saving. Institute a standing order to have automatic transfers from your salary/earnings to your savings account each month. This is an easy way to save money without thinking about it. Recall that I advocate strongly for a rainy day/emergency funds account, as this gives you peace of mind knowing that you are covered for unexpected expenses.


10. Shop for bargains:

Using coupons and discounts when shopping for essentials can save you money and help you stay within your budget. At the very least, compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Additionally, I recommend that you try alternative purchase websites such as Facebook Marketplace or eBay. Personally, I use Facebook Marketplace to sell near new items at great prices. This is to generate income towards my rainy day/emergency funds (we’ll talk about this in an upcoming blog).


Negotiate prices on larger purchases such as a new motor vehicle. Discounts may take the form of freebies such as car mats, rain visors, window tinting, annual insurance premium and so on.


CONCLUSION

In this blog post, I've shared the first 10 budgeting tips to help you stay on track with your finances. By implementing these tips, you're well on your way to achieving financial success and freedom. Remember, sticking to a budget requires discipline, patience, and consistency, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Whether you're just starting to budget or looking for new strategies to improve your financial health, these tips can help you achieve your goals and create a better future for yourself and your loved ones. I hope that these tips have been helpful.

All the very best on your journey towards financial success!

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3 Comments


Guest
May 08, 2023

I am so inspired by these tips

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Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams
Apr 10, 2023

Very good reminders and tips indeed. Very easy to follow and practical.

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Denzle Murray
Denzle Murray
Apr 09, 2023

This is very impressive. I will try these techniques of yours.

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