How to Stick to Your Budget

How to Stick to Your Budget and Save Money

A few weeks ago, we shared few tips on how to start a budget! If you have done so, congratulations, it is a huge step in getting your finances in order. If you are still in the process of building it and have questions, we will be happy to answer them and help you if we can.  Building a budget is not an easy task but it is worth doing it!

Once your budget built, written or stored in an Excel sheet, you need to stick to it. In my opinion, it is the hardest part! Temptations are everywhere and it is  so easy to forget about that budget stored in the  back of your mind. ! In the coming weeks, I will be sharing my tips on how to stick to a budget! Some of them may apply to you, some of them not. I would love to hear from you: what worked and what didn’t work. Learning how to stick to your budget  is a work in progress. You try things, see if it works and adjust: Trial and error

Tips To Stick to Your Budget

Here is the monthly budget I built few weeks ago. Yours will look a bit different depending on your expenses.

Monthly expenses Total
Rent/Mortgage 133
Insurance 10
Phone/internet/utilities 10
Food 133
Take Out 10
Baby Sitting services 10
Car repair/maintenance 10
Entertainment 15
Bank Fees 5
Miscellaneous 24
Monthly saving 40
Total 400

Here are some general tips that you may already know on how to stick to your budget:

-Pay cash whenever possible! But how? When? I don’t having a lot of cash when I do grocery shopping.

- Avoid temptation: Not easy when you go grocery shopping with kids!

Those tips are so true but how can we apply them to the budget on a daily basis?

There are expenses that you have control over and others not! Let’s analyze each expense and see how we can help you stick to your budget:

1- Rent/Mortgage

If it is a rent payment, you don’t have control over it!

If it is a mortgage payment, you can have some latitude to pay more (not less). If my mortgage is $133 per month, I can round it up to $135 a month! I will pay my mortgage faster and pay less interest! You have to check with your financial institution before. If I have bi-weekly payments, I organize them to be withdrawn the next day that my pay is deposited. If you are comfortable, switch to a variable rate! You will save a lot of money

2- Insurance:

You typically don’t have much control over the expense either. But you can write down the renewal date and start shopping around for insurance quotes a few months before the renewal date. It may save you money!

I choose a higher deductible too! (Around $500). Here is my thinking: I would rather put the difference I would pay in a saving accountant than pay it to insurance company! If (and God Forbids an accident happens, I have my saving account that covers my deductible).

Fixed expenses

3- Phone/internet/utilities

You may have a fixed portion for the service and a variable one with the consumption. As an example, I pay a monthly fee for my phone service and a certain amount of data. If I exceed I have to pay an extra! Those fees can add up quickly, especially when you are abroad! The roaming charges can be expensive. Watch your usage and don’t be shy about calling your phone company to ask how much you used. It can save you a lot of money down the road!

Pay your bills cash! I cannot emphasize how much this will help you stick to your budget! Many companies offer credit card payments, you could use this service but you must be disciplined enough to pay the monthly statement. I do not use this service. I pay cash!

4- Monthly saving:

You have control over it! I use a separate saving account where I cannot use my debit card to withdraw money! It is less temptation for me! Besides, I like watching the amount growing! Feels so good!! Seeing your money grow can really help you stick to your budget!

5- Baby sitting services or childcare services.

If you are working and have children, chances are you are paying for childcare services. First read our tips on how to save money on childcare services. This amount is fixed (such as the rent). I don’t have control over it! I try to tie it to the pay deposit.

From time to time, my husband and I go out for a date! Dating is so important for a relationship! To reduce the cost of baby sitting, we exchange baby sitting services with our neighbors! It is free and kids love it because they play with other kids. If you cannot, make sure to save the amount in your monthly saving account and use it accordingly.

Variable expenses

The following expenses : Food, take out, miscellaneous, and clothing can  sometimes be hard to manage! Usually I have a third account for those expenses. (Some people use food jars to store their money, I prefer bank accounts. Use the solution that is suitable for you and best helps you stick to your budget).  I divide those expenses per week! So for food, I can spend $33.25! I try to go to the grocery store once a week (maximum) and pay with my debit card (no credit card). If I spend less than $33.25, I transfer the non used money to the saving account!

I know it takes a lot of discipline, but this is what it takes to stick to your budget and to build and emergency fund! This is what works for me! It may or may not work for you but I am sure you can use some of the tips above!

Sticking to you budget is an ongoing process. If you notice that you didn’t budget one expense appropriately, change your budget. It is a back and forth process until you find your balance!

Do you have any questions? Do you have any other ideas that can benefit to us all?

Photo background credit: Dollars Background by Petr Kratochvil

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About Olfa Turki

Olfa Turki is a chartered accountant, a wife and a mom! She started her journey a few years ago when she decided to have a business of her own . She loves cooking with the kids, biking, reading books and drinking lots of coffee!

Comments

  1. I want to know how the heck you get by on a grocery budget of $133 a month?!!

  2. wOW, that is impressive, thanks for the great tips. I have to budget better.

  3. Great tips! I have like 4 spreadsheets with budgets, graghs, spending charts, etc. I am a stickler for numbers!!

  4. I have a hard time sticking to a budget. It’s those little impulse buys that get me. And my kids aren’t so bad to shop with, it’s the husband! He’s an impulse shopping maniac!
    I put my bills into the Google Calender and I always know when things are due. I also schedule some my bills with my banl’s bill pay when they come in and make notes in my checkbook.

    • Impluse shopping is one of my weakness too! I just leave my credit card at home to avoid it! When you pay cash, you usually think twice

  5. Wow, if I could just write it all down it would be a start. Thx for sharing this!

  6. What do you do when your expenses out weigh your income and you’re just juggling to keep up?

    • You need either to increase your income (by taking another job) or try to find ways to reduce your expenses. I am sure that there are some expenses that you can get rid of! Email me if you want.

  7. Good tips.

  8. Thanks for the tips!! We use a spreadsheet to track and it helps a lot.

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