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Welcome back to Day 10 of the Master A Budget Series! We are now wrapping up this series. Yesterday, I have shared What Makes A Healthy Budget; today, we will take a look at tips On How To Stick To A Budget.
If you haven’t yet, download the Master A Budget Workbook to practice what you will learn from this series.
Let’s dive in.
Creating a family budget is within everyone’s reach, but creating a successful one is a whole new ball game. Here are some tips on how to stick to a budget.
1) Get Everyone on Board
The more inclusive your budget is, the more likely it is to work well for your family. Include every family member who is old enough to understand. A budget affects everyone, and it’s a good idea to listen to input from other members of the family.
Tips On How To Get Everyone On Board
You’ve probably heard that getting everyone involved is important to the success of your family budget. But you may be wondering if that’s really necessary, or how to even do it. Here are some ideas and tips for getting everyone on board with your family budget.
Sometimes parents try to hide their financial situation from their kids and/or each other. While this may seem like “sparing” the ones you love, in actuality, it can cause undue stress on the one family member who does know how bad things are, or how things work financially.
It’s true that you don’t want to overburden your kids with responsibilities that aren’t theirs, but including them in a frank discussion of your financial situation can go a long way toward easing your burden and garnering their willing participation.
Set Up Family Meeting
Call a family meeting to discuss finances. If you’ve never done a family meeting before, this is a good place to start. It may not be everyone’s favorite topic, but it’s an important one.
Ultimately, your kids and spouse will be glad you included them in the discussion. Another tip on the meeting – try to call it at a time when it doesn’t cut into other plans. This should help reduce resentment.
Give them a clear picture of your finances. Explain how your family finances affect everyone in the household. Be clear and specific, citing fees, tuition, allowances, groceries, etc. and how they all cost money.
There’s no need to beat everyone over the head with this information, so to speak; but it gets family members to think a bit about where the money comes from. It’s easy to take things for granted.
Cut back On Areas that That Affect the Whole Family
If the budget involves cutting back, it’s probably a good idea to cut back in areas that affect the whole family rather than just one member. Otherwise, that one person may resent what seems to be preferential treatment of the others, and you’ve lost your whole-family approach to the budget.
Set Goals Together
As you work to formulate your budget, work on common goals. What would your youngest child like to see as part of the budget? She might say toys. Your oldest child might point to electronic devices as something to include; your spouse may say a nice vacation.
Consider everyone’s wishes and come up with some realistic, common goals. Not everything is doable, of course; but finding creative ways to get everyone’s needs met is what family life is all about.
2) Leave Room for Luxuries
Some budgets are so tight that it may seem there’s no room for any luxury. But if you get a bit creative about what constitutes a luxury, you will probably find you can in fact afford some kind of privilege or luxury.
It could be something like buying your favorite brand name item at the store instead of settling for the store brand, or maybe buying fresh fish instead of frozen once a month. Maybe ordering a pizza or Chinese food is a luxury for your family that you can include in your budget.
If you are budgeting with more money, your luxury could be a family vacation or new piece of electronic equipment. The point is to include some kind of luxury in your budget. This helps keep family members motivated and makes the budget easier to deal with.
3) Get a Good Estimation
To do this, it’s a good idea to take your last three months’ worth of income and create an average. When in doubt, round down so that surprises will be more likely to be on the plus side. The same is true for expenses – include at least three months of expenses to get a true picture.
4) Be Patient
It takes a few months for a budget to sort itself out and become a habit. There will be bugs that need to be worked out. Understanding this can help you stick with it as it needs tweaking and adjusting.
5) Use A Software or A Budgeting App
For some, using software to lay out the family budget can be very helpful. Software that is designed for the purpose may make creating the budget easier. You can check out The best Budgeting Tools You Need For An Organized Budget for more information.
6) Celebrate Quick Wins
My favorite tip on how to stick to a budget is celebrating quick wins. Budgeting requires hard work, so it is imperative to pat yourself on the back every time you’ve reached a part of your goal.
It can be something small like, no spend days for one week, or you were able to stick to your budget for a month, or you were able to negotiate a lower rate on your cable. Celebrating quick wins will give you motivation by giving you something to look forward to.
7) Distinguish between Needs and Wants
This distinction is harder to make for some people than others, and it’s tougher in some family dynamics than others. What one person thinks of as a “necessity” might be looked at as a luxury by someone else. If you’re in doubt, ask yourself, “Will my family suffer without it?”. If yes, then that item is a NEED.
8) Keep Looking Back At Your Goals
Sticking to a budget can be hard, there will be times when you run into a temptation that is hard to resist. There will be times when you get tired of tracking your expenses. There will be plenty of times that you will want to just give up. But if you will take the time to look back on your goals, they will give you the motivation that you need to keep going.
There you have it!
Those are some of the tips on how to stick to a budget that you can start to incorporate in your budgeting journey. No matter what you do, keep your eyes on your goals. Your hard work now will pay off in the end.
How are sticking to your budget?
This article wraps up the Master A Budget Series. Thank you for sticking with me to the end. I hope you got something out of this series. If you haven’t yet, sign up for my email list to get more updates on money tips.