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How can I Make Myself Stick to a Budget?

Diana Bocco
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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When it comes to sticking to a budget, most people find themselves getting annoyed and hating the process. Even with the best of intentions, those who want to stick to a budget eventually find it annoying to have to track everything. As a result, experts estimate that over 60% of people who make a budget end up abandoning it by the second month. If you have found yourself in that group in the past, there are a number of tips you can follow to make a budget easier to stick to.

Make it easy. The number one reason people don't stick to a budget is because the process is too complicated. You can simplify the practice by shopping at a few places rather than visiting ten different stores, and by rounding up the numbers to the nearest dollar. Rather than thinking $3.74 US Dollars (USD), think $4 USD. The difference is little, and it will eventually work itself out. Alternately, use credit and debit cards, since that allows you to keep a more effective track of your spending.

Look at the big picture. It will be easier to stay on budget if you focus on the reason you are saving money rather than focusing on the little things you have to give up. If you're saving for a new car, a dream vacation, or your child's college education, reminding yourself of why you started to save in the first place will make it easier to put the credit card back in your wallet the next time temptation strikes.

Treat yourself. Nobody expects you to stick to a budget that consists only of basic living expenses, with no room for fun. Once a week, make it a rule to do something nice as a reward for your hard work. It can be as easy as an evening at the movies, or taking the family out for ice cream.

If, after trying for several weeks, you still have trouble, find a buddy who can help you stay on track. You can team-up with a friend who is also saving for something to help each other stay on course. Is you know somebody who's great with money, ask for help in locating inexpensive stores and learning how to budget for everyday expenses.

Above all, remember that it's the little things that matter. Pennies add up quickly, and anything you can save will move you a step closer to your final goal.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By johnson19 — On Jul 09, 2010

allienoelle- I agree with you that paying cash for purchases is a good way to control spending. Another thing that has helped me stick to a budget is to use a prepaid credit card.

To use a prepaid credit card, you first deposit money into an account you set up with the company. This account is similar to a checking or savings account. You can then use the card to spend the money that you deposited.

Prepaid credit cards work better for me than debit cards because I only put a limited amount of money into my account. When I use my debit card, my whole paycheck is in the account so I tend to spend more.

By allienoelle — On Jul 09, 2010

There is a method that I currently use that has been very effective in helping me stick to my monthly budget and control my spending.

Before the first of the month, I estimate how much money I will need for personal expenses such as eating out, entertainment and clothing. I take that exact amount of money out of the ATM in cash at the first of the month and put it in my purse. Once the cash is gone, the spending stops.

Paying cash for personal expenses is more tangible and works better for me than using a debit or credit card. Previously, I paid for things using a card without realizing how much I was actually spending.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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