Are you off track with your budget? Or have you been completely ignoring your budget and now you have no idea what to do? From time to time we all go over budget. It happens to the best of us and at any age. There’s really only 3 steps you can follow to get back to a disciplined budget, but it can only be done if you 100% commit.
1. Stop Spending Money
There’s a popular challenge that many people part take in and that can be very helpful as your first step to getting back on track. The No Spending Challenge. This challenge is exactly what it sounds like. For a month, or any given amount of time you decide on, you spend no extra money. This means outside of bills, weekly necessities (like groceries and gas/train money to get to work), and emergencies you do not spend any money. The best part of this challenge is the the fact that you create your own rules. Start with your time limit, then list the items that you are allowed to spend on. Create a list of rules and post it in your room or kitchen for a daily reminder!
Here are some No Spending Challenge examples:
2. Make a Plan
After you pledge to not spend any extra money, it is time to make a plan. Sure you had a plan before, but that didn’t work out too well, did it? That’s okay! Its good to frequently review budgets and make updates to suit your present situation. Look at the budget you were following. Where did you make mistakes? Where did you go over? My best advice for creating a budget is to be honest. Be honest with yourself about where you spend your money. You can adjust for it in your budget and set up restrictions to limit spending.
Another helpful tip is to separate your money. Have bills and paychecks connected to one account, savings in another and leftover spending money in an account that is attached to a debit card. To help me from spending money I can’t afford I only put $100 – $200 on my debit card. Then I transfer money or write a check when I need to pay for bills or groceries. For more on how I created my budget and keep my money separate go to these posts:
3. Follow Through
Budgeting is kind of like a diet, you can’t commit to it for just a week and expect results. Make sure you follow through with your new plan and goals for your challenge. Check your budget daily or at the very least, weekly. Update your progress on an excel sheet, with Mint.com or another budgeting site/app. It is okay to make adjustments as you go along. If you add money to one budget line, take money away from another. This is where it all comes down to you. No one is going to remind of your budget every time you open your wallet. The success and failure that comes along with your money lies with you, it’s as simple as that.
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