You can exercise more control over your finances by having a working budget. A budget is a great tool to have to gain control over your finances and turn your situation around. There are many people that believe budgets don’t work as they take too much time or they keep making mistakes. Budgets do take work, especially in the first few months because you will need to adjust to your new spending habits. However, here are some budget hacks that will make sticking to your budget much easier.
Use Cash for Problem Categories
If you don’t really like tracking your budget each day then you may want to think about switching to cash for categories where you usually go over. Common areas are entertainment costs, groceries and clothing.
It’s a good idea to take the money you have budgeted for these categories out of the bank at the beginning of the month and divide the cash into envelopes for the various categories. Once the cash has run out then you know you need to stop spending. Keep the receipts so you know what you have spent the cash on. With groceries, you can divide the cash further like have an envelope for each week of groceries and this way you won’t be running out of food in the last week of the month.
This will also make you more aware of how you are spending your money as cash is a lot harder to separate from than just swiping your card.
Use Your Phone for Budgets
It is much easier to stick to a budget with budgeting software. You are able to download budgeting software to your smartphone, which means you are able to enter transactions as you go. The software usually allows you to create a category and assign a certain amount to each of these. Once you enter the transaction into the appropriate category, it will tell you how much you have left in the category.
This can help you to avoid mistakes and if you are married and are both spending money in the same category then you can keep track a lot easier. Entering transactions as you do them will help you to save time.
Wait…There are more budget hacks to know…
Sit Down and Review
A great way to get your budget working is to have meetings about it and this is a necessity if you are married. This is where you look at your spending habits and review the changes you can make. You should do this at least once a week. These reviews only take a few minutes to do but at first, they may feel like a chore, but it is worth it. Also, your weekly review will take less and less time as you get better at budgeting. You need to know where your money is going and how much you have left each month.
Making the Cuts
If your budget shows that you don’t actually have enough money to cover all your expenses then it’s time to determine where you can make the cutbacks. Finding extra money by making cuts can make a huge difference.
You can shop for a new cell phone plan, internet provider and insurance, but you can even save by just doing simple things like turning off lights in a room you are not using, stop buying that morning takeaway coffee, think before you buy clothing and make sure you don’t have something similar that is lurking in the back of your cupboard and other such things as they will save you a bit of money. Making cutbacks or finding ways to reduce your bills and spending can make sticking to your budget easier.
Save on Groceries
One of the major problem categories for people is groceries and many of us overspend in this area. Fast food and eating out is easier, but this will soon add up. A trap that many of us fall into is buying our monthly groceries but then still getting take away and eating out too often, so we are just spending more. Cooking food yourself is definitely cheaper and you will save money, but it can be difficult to save on your food budget.
One hack that you might need to save on your grocery bill is a menu planning service. These type of services will put together a list and provide you with new recipes each week. This can help you to stop eating out and wasting food.
Also, when you are going shopping look for specials and discounts on products that you use even if it’s not the brand that you use, because these small savings can add up. Take a little time to compare products and prices so you can save.
Sticking to a budget can be difficult and many of us are prone to impulse buys, but if we just take a moment to think about the purchase and how it would affect our money we will think twice. You can make life easier with a budget and by using the hacks above.