Financial Budgeting: How to Stay on Track

by Jason on April 7, 2010

Sometimes it feels like we’re moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to getting ahead doesn’t it?  I mean, if things could just change over night it’d be so much better – but it doesn’t.

This is where financial budgeting comes in!

Besides life insurance, financial budgeting is one of the only other personal finance topics that makes peoples’ skin crawl!

It sounds so constricting, so enslaving and many people feel a financial budget will sap their freedom!

But, I’m here to tell you from my own personal experience as well as experience working with others that financial budgeting is one of the most liberating things you can do with your money!

Why?

Because when you know exactly what you can spend without having to worry about sending yourself down a debt spiral, you can spend without guilt, without remorse and with a lot more happiness!

My wife and I recently reworked our financial budget and it was good to put some checks and balances into what we were spending.

We realized that we were spending waaaay to much on going out to eat so we put a cap on it and last month was a great month!

We enjoyed our going-out-for-dinner-times and when we reached out limit we stopped!

We both felt great about it!

So how can we get back on track and stay on track with our financial budgeting?  Take a look at these ideas:

Make Financial Budgeting a Family Affair

When everyone is working together toward the same goal you are more likely to stay on track.  It’s so difficult if you have one spouse who is gung-ho for saving, budgeting and getting out of debt and the other one is not on board!

Check Your Budgeting Progress Regularly

Ideally once a month you should sit down and review how you did and make any adjustments as necessary.

You may have budgeted $300 monthly for groceries, but you find after a few months it isn’t realistic.  It’s OK.  Make your adjustments by increasing your budget in some places and reducing it in others!

Make Financial Budgeting a Lifestyle

Think of financial budgeting as lifestyle, not just some crash diet!  Make it part of your life and with some discipline you will reap rewards.

Once you build your budget into your lifestyle it will soon become an effective habit that will transform the way you handle money and help you get on your path to saving in a Roth IRA or other retirement accounts!

Start Budgeting at the Right Time

This one is so key!  Don’t start when you know it will be difficult (e.g, right before the holidays or before a major vacation that was already planned).

This would be like starting a diet the day before Thanksgiving!  You have to get the timing right in order to stay motivated.

Take a Look at Financial Budgeting Software to Help

Find a budgeting system that fits your needs –  budgeting software like Mint.com can be a very useful tool.  There are plenty of others out their like Budget Pulse or Quicken or Gazelle Budget

Automating  often makes it easier to stay on track.

Build Rewards into Your Budget

This is another big one.  The reason so many people hate to budget is because they often cut out all the fun stuff!  Keep fun stuff in there and make it a reward system.

For example, if you stay on track over the next two weeks you get to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant.  Or – if you spend less than your budget this month you get to go buy a new outfit.

Build that into your budget and you’ll be motivated to make a game of it and stay on track!

What Advice Would You Give About Financial Budgeting?

Got any tips to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

Google+ Comments

Related Posts