Spending less than we make is often easier said than done. But with the right budget, getting those spending habits under control is just easier. Not to mention the added benefit of saving more.
Here are my top 10 budgeting tips to help build a budget that will get you into better spending and savings habits:
- Set goals. Figure out what short-term and long-term financial plans you have so that you know exactly what you’re saving for.
- Pay yourself first. Set up automatic deposits directly from your paycheck, so that you don’t even have to think about saving. This way, the money goes straight into your savings account and you’ll never know the difference with the money you have leftover to spend.
- Count every dollar. Take a good, hard look at your money and make sure each dollar has a place. The goal is to be as close to accurate as possible so that you don’t have any monthly surprises.
- Challenge yourself. See if you can spend under what you budgeted. This way you can free up even more money to go directly into saving for one of your goals.
- Prioritize debt. It is possible to pay off debt and save at the same time, but your first priority should be to pay down your debt as fast as you can. This should be treated as another form of savings.
- Adjust as necessary. Treat your budget like a living breathing document. You may be able to significantly lower certain line items as time goes on or need to add one down the road.
- Check in frequently. A budget that is often ignored isn’t going to help you much.
- Utilize free tools. We’re lucky today because there are tons of free tools that can help make budgeting a little bit easier. Why make something harder than it needs to be?
- Be honest. If you overspend one month, that’s ok. Just make up for it the next month.
- Reward yourself. A budget shouldn’t feel too restricting. It’s okay to celebrate your savings every now and then!