A budget is simply a way to organize your money. A lot of people make a monthly budget to track their income and expenses. A monthly budget shows you how much you’re expecting to receive (income) and how much you’re expecting to spend (expenses) in that month.
A budget gives you a complete view of your finances, showing you how much of your income you’re spending and where it’s going, every month. Once you know this, you not only have a better understanding of your finances, but you can make choices that will help you reach your financial goals.
For example, if you’re trying to get out of debt, but already feel like you’re barely getting by, creating a budget can help you find ways to cut back on expenses and put more money towards your debt every month. You also won’t know exactly how much money you’re able to put towards paying off your loans each month until you know how much money is left over after all of your expenses have been paid.
Creating a budget is an important part of reaching your financial goals. But going from spending without thinking to using a monthly budget can be a hard transition to make. So, if you need help with budgeting, we’re sharing our top tips to make using a budget (almost) second-nature.
1. Find accountability
Accountability is key to accomplishing goals and staying on track. We’re much more likely to do what we say we’re going to do if others know about.
If your finances are combined with your spouse or significant other, help hold each other accountable. If you’re on your own, find a friend or family member who’s willing to check in with you and hold you accountable to make a monthly budget and use it. It’s best to find someone who’s working towards similar goals as you.
Ask the person to check in with you weekly and monthly to ensure you’re creating a budget and staying on track throughout the month. Accountability doesn’t mean yelling and screaming and demanding that you do what you said you were going to do. So, find someone who’ll give you gentle nudges and will remind you why you started working towards this goal in the first place.
Another way to create accountability for yourself is by sharing your goals out loud. Post them on facebook. Share monthly updates of your financial goals (getting out of debt, paying off your house, etc.) on your blog. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing exact numbers, share percentages or in other ways, instead. By sharing, you’re holding yourself accountable and also hopefully receiving encouragement from your friends and family in return. And it’s perfectly OK to ask for help with budgeting. Some of your friends and family may have experience and be able to provide you with helpful tips along the way.
2. Set aside time in advance
Using a budget means putting in a little extra work to keep track of your finances. When you’re first getting started, it can take more time as you learn the ropes of creating and using a budget. So, set aside time in advance. Plan to sit down once a month and make a monthly budget for the following month. Depending on your finances, expect to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour every month. Then, set aside smaller chunks of time every week to review your spending and update your budget.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be time-consuming and overwhelming, though. There’s some amazing online tools that can help automate your budget. Check out our list of the Best Online Budgeting Tools to Get Out of Debt for a list of great places to start. If you find a budgeting tool and system that works for you, and set aside time in advance, it will be a lot easier to hold yourself accountable.
3. Set goals that you’re excited about
A budget isn’t just a great way to keep track of your finances. It’s also a great way to stay on track for accomplishing your financial goals. Whether you’re paying off debt or saving up for a big purchase, a budget can keep you on track. But the best way to stay on track, is to set goals that you’re excited about.
When you set goals you’re excited about, it’s a lot easier to stay on track. Tracking your expenses and using a budget takes time and work. It requires a little more consideration before making a purchase. So, if you’re using a budget to accomplish a goal that you’re not excited about, it’s a lot easier to get off track.
4. Make it easy!
Keep it simple. This may be the best piece of advice we have to help with budgeting. The easier something is, the more likelier you are to do it. So, simplify your budgeting process as much as possible.
Find an online tool that does a lot of the work for you. You can check out our list of the best online budgeting tools to get started. Create a schedule for yourself to sit down monthly and create your budget. Maybe you schedule a budget meeting with yourself for the 1st of each month. Try to make the process as easy as possible. That also means setting goals for yourself that are easy to accomplish. Rather than setting one large goal, break it down into smaller goals that are easy to reach. If you have a monthly goal, you’re more likely to stay on track for that entire month than you would be if you were working towards a goal that was six months away.
If you’re working towards getting out of debt, try using a budget. These 4 tips can help make the habit of budgeting easier. If you’re stuck in the payday loan debt trap, give us a call. A budget can help you get your finances in order to get out of debt, but we can help make the process of getting out of payday loan debt even easier.
Want to Know More?
Check out our list of the Best Online Budgeting Tools to Help You Get Out of Debt