Budgeting isn’t easy. It can be difficult especially when you are looking for ways to stick to your family budget. A lot of things that can come up that makes it hard – desires, cravings, emergencies – and before you know it, the budget fails.
So what are the ways you can stick to your family budget?
Here are 13 innovative tips you can follow:
1. Focus on one main category every month
The problem with most us is that we want to do everything NOW! We forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you develop this habit and therefore take things slowly, it would be easier for you to stick to your family project.
There are several bad habits that you and your family might have developed that eats into your budget – coffee at Starbucks, take outs from your favorite pizza place, an all-inclusive package on your favorite streaming service (even though you watch a few channels) – choose one of the bad habits and decide to kill it for that month.
When you choose one behavior to work on for the month, it helps you not to concentrate and not get easily overwhelmed. And doing one thing at a time, gives you a higher chance of celebrating victories. The more victories you have, the harder you would like to work.
2. Do your major purchases only in the morning
In the evening, you are mostly tired after a long day of work. Your brain would definitely tired, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to make purchases at this time.
Why does it even matter? Your brain when tired would mostly likely make terrible decisions. You don’t want to buy a new dinning set on Amazon just because you “accidentally” clicked on buy.
The best time to buy is in the morning when your are feeling refreshed and energized. Our brains are working at a 110 percent and willpower aren’t compromised. You are less likely to make compulsive buys that you would later on regret.
3. Never go to the grocery store when you are hungry
I used to do this all the time. I always end up impulsively buying things and overspending on my grocery budget. If you find yourself impulsively buying at the grocery store, there is a good chance you are going there on an empty stomach.
When you are hungry and in a place with lots of food, everything would look good. It then becomes very easy to spend money on things that aren’t in your budget.
I recommend you eat before going on grocery shopping. When you go shopping on a full stomach, everything on the aisle would look so good anymore. Happy shopping!
4. Check out the one star reviews on products.
This is a very good trick to quench your want for a product. When you read all the bad reviews about a certain product you want to buy online, the lure the product initially had on you would reduce.
Reading all these horrible reviews would trick your brain into thinking that maybe you don’t need that product after all. Before you know it, you didn’t make the purchase and have also saved money.
5. When you shop online, anything you put in your cart, do not make payment until the next day.
Making a purchase online usually takes two steps: First you “Add to your cart” then you go to the checkout section to make payment.
After adding to cart, we usually do not review our decisions on making the buy, we just pay. This is where we have made our first mistake. The point between checking out and making payment is the reflection zone.
The moment you have added a product to your cart, the best thing to do is to wait till the next day before you make payment.
This would allow you the opportunity to really access for the rest of the day if you really need that product. 50% of the time you might end up not making the purchase.
6. Never save your credit card details on any website
This can become an Achilles heel for most. Majority of the website that you would shop on would ask you to save your credit card details on the website for easy shopping next time. Never do that!
This is a handy trick most websites use. They would tell you that it is for your convenience. Well its all for marketing because they know that when your credit card details is saved, you would spend more money on purchases in the long run.
You might not know that adding your credit card details before you make a purchase every time is part of the decision process. The “convenience” takes away the decision process and you just make purchases on the fly breaking your budget in the process. If the so called inconvenience help you spend within your budget, it is definitely worth it.
7. Customize a reminder tape for your credit card
Credit cards have made life very easy and also living within a budget difficult. When you are using cash, you see your wallet gradually emptying. With a credit card you don’t have that pull that your money is getting exhausted. You just slide it out sleekly out of your wallet, make your buy and it goes back in.
Putting a tape on your credit card serves as reminder not to spend too much money. You can put a reminder like this, “do I really need to buy this?” Or “is this part of my budget?”
That way before you make a purchase, you get one more reminder. This is one of the most innovative ways to stick to your family budget.
8. When shopping on Amazon, use gift cards only
I give kudos to Amazon design and marketing team. There online store is probably the easiest place to shop online. With a few clicks, you would be surprised that you have spent hundreds of dollars. One way you can slow down your spending though is by making purchases using only gift cards.
How does this help you stick to your family budget?
If you want to buy something from the Amazon store, go to the grocery store and buy a pre-loaded Amazon gift card. You wouldn’t have to pay a convenience fee also.
Go to your amazon account and load you gift card. You now have money to make your purchase.
Why go through all this stress when you can just use credit card? Going to the store to buy the gift card would involve a lot of thought and deliberation. This would help you to combat impulsive buys on Amazon.
9. Make use of budgets and envelopes
Using cash is much better for your budget than making use of a credit card. You can improve on this by putting the cash into envelopes categorized by your budget items.
At the beginning of each month you create your envelopes for each category then place you cash into them. When you finish the cash in an envelope you stop spending, that way you don’t exceed your budget for the month.
The envelopes helps you to track your expenses in a simple way and leaves no room for error.
10. Have a support group
When you decide that you want to find ways to stick to your family budget, you’ve embarked on the first step. Sticking to it diligently on the other hand can be difficult. It also takes a lot of commitment on your part.
You might fail sometimes and in moment like this, you would need a support group of like-minded individuals.
Your friend or partner might support you from time to time, but they might not give you the right support because you don’t have the same goals. When you join a support group with the same goals as yours, it becomes much easier.
You don’t even need to pay any money because there are a lot of communities like this online. A good place to find a community of like-minded individuals would be on reddit. You can follow a sub reddit that focuses on budgeting and frugal living.
These communities would show you tips and advice that you would not have thought of on your own. It also helps to know that you are not the only one struggling with the issue.
11. Reward yourself for small wins
When you are setting a budget, it is usually because you have a large goal you are trying to meet – maybe you want to save enough money to pay off your mortgage or buy a new car.
It also a good idea that you set mini goals along the way. It helps you to have something to look forward to in the short run and also serves as a means of motivation.
Don’t just stop at setting this smaller goals, also reward yourself whenever you meet them. It can be something as little as a box of pizza. Celebrating these small wins serves as motivation to work harder.
12. Learn from the Buddhist
You don’t have to become a Buddhist before you can follow some of their principles. One of their philosophies that can be very helpful is understanding that you can have everything you want.
We all have cravings and desires. It is also okay to have them. Following the Buddhist approach, you recognize these cravings, accept them and let them pass. And then you move on.
Apply this philosophy to the times that you would want to make a purchase on things that would break your budget. Recognize them, accept them and move on. The feelings would come, but you just have to let them go.
13. Your savings should be part of your budget
If you wait until you have exhausted your budget before you start to save, you might end up not saving any money.
After spending on expenses and not having budget for savings, you might see the extra cash as extra money and end up spending it instead of saving.
Automate your saving withdrawals so that you already have them stored before you even think about spending it. It no longer become “extra cash” but savings.
It is not easy to stick to a budget, but if you use some of tips above and find ways you can limit impulse buying, it would be much easier to stick to your family budget.