The one trick that will help you stick to your budget
Making a budget is the easy part; you can put any number next to expenses in your budget, but sticking to that number is the hard part. If you need to cut back your budget in order to save money, putting a lower number next to for example your grocery bill is one thing, but your mind might be encouraging you to sway the other way. Before you know it, you have blown the budget!
The mind has a huge part to play in our money spending and saving habits, and changing the way you view your money is one of the best ways to begin to get a handle on your finances and improve them for the better. If you make one wrong move when it comes to your money, and the same goes with anything in life you try to succeed at, you might find yourself sabotaging your efforts, telling yourself you have blown it now so you may as well spend whatever you want and throw the budget out the window for the month. Say you allocate $150 toward your groceries each week, and you are working hard at sticking to your shopping list and only buying what you need each time you visit the supermarket. Then you slip up and buy something not in the budget, and regret the expenses when you get home, no matter how small it actually was. Many of us will then beat ourselves up over it, and just forget about the budget from that point onward, as you have already ‘ruined it’. Before you know it, you are repeating the same cycle month after month.
We all make these mistakes and slip up, after all budgeting is a long term effort, it takes time to adjust your sending habits and learn to find cheaper alternatives. So how can you give yourself room to slip up while still maintaining a budget? Give yourself a buffer next to variable expenses in the budget. Instead of allocating $150 per week toward your groceries and hoping that you can shop under budget, allow yourself $200 to spend. You might then notice a shift in your spending. Just because you have that extra $50 per week in the budget, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend it, in fact you might start to notice the opposite happening (our minds work in weird ways), you might instead find yourself spending less than the $150 you had allocated in the first place.
Why does this happen? Restricting what you can spend on certain things can at times make you act in the exact opposite way, making you feel suffocated by the restriction, and you just rebel against it as it all seems to hard. There is no point setting a tight budget if you just know it doesn’t fit in with how you react to things. You need to tailor your budget to your own way of doing things, and you will have a way bigger chance of succeeding. We are all different, with different personalities, and we need to work on our finances in different ways to get to where we want to be.