People understand the importance of financial budgeting plays in reaching many of life’s goals. But many of these same people find the process of budgeting to be challenging to stick to. One of the key budgeting challenges is that it makes us feel like we’re broke. Budgeting is intended to plan, organize, track, and improve your financial situation. But we need to look at first with the lens of what it means to you.
Find Your Budgeting Purpose
Budgeting is not a flashy instrument or some fad. It takes hard work and consistency over a long period. If we set a goal and plan towards reaching it with a budget, it makes it easier to continue doing. Here are some ideas on what your budgeting purpose could be:
Increase your savings
Gain control of your finances
Improve your net worth
Reach your financial goals faster
Decrease financial stress
Identify wasteful spending
Prioritize your finances
Improve your self-discipline
Become debt-free faster
Money Management Strategies
A budget will help you manage expenses better and learn how to save money from salary, but you also need to ensure you’re looking at the bigger picture. Based on your purpose for financial budgeting, create one or more financial goals. For example, if you want to increase your savings, then set a goal of saving $100 a month and setting aside a $1,000 emergency savings fund.
Before you start a budget, you must gain an understanding of your financial situation. Review all your monthly income sources and identify all your expenses from the last several months. This method will provide you a basis for your budget.
Process of Budgeting
You can now create a realistic budget by incorporating what you have learned from your spending in previous months. If you have consistently spent $400 on eating out, then it’s not likely to cut that spending down to half moving forward. That will make you feel like you’re broke to make a significant change.
Instead, look for expenses that you can cut or remove entirely that you can go without. Change your cell phone provider, cancel subscription services, go out to eat one less day per week, etc.
Living on a Tight Budget
Budgeting can be even more complicated when money is already tight. Living on a tight budget can be done with some money management strategies. Look for ways to pay less on the things you need. For example, find a less expensive grocery store. You can get great food at a much lower cost. If your debt is eating up a lot of money, use a budgeting method like the debt snowball to pay it down faster.
Budgeting Tips That Make It Easier to Save
Want some more ideas on how to make budgeting easier? Here are a few budgeting tips you can try:
Try a minimalist budget - This type of budget is centered around the idea of eliminating non-essential things from your life so that you have more room for things that you value. The 50/30/20 budget is a type of minimalist budget that is popular with this framework.
Save more money from your salary - Want to know how to save money from salary? Start a side hustle, sell off unwanted items, automatically set aside money to go towards savings, make debt payments less expensive through refinancing, or transfer the highest interest credit card debt first.
Create budgeting challenges to help create habits - For example, if you follow all your rules for a month, give yourself a treat like a night out for dinner or going out for a movie.
Overcoming Budgeting Challenges
People are unable to stick to a budget because of a problem they cross when budgeting. Here are three of the most common and how to overcome them:
Having an All-Or-Nothing Mentality
The idea of tracking every penny that’s being spent is a lot, especially if you don’t have an automatic system. Cut yourself some slack is this is becoming a road back. Estimate how much you spend in different spending categories like mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, etc. and make sure it's less than your income. Reassess it if you are overspending and get tighter.
Try the “envelope” method if you find it difficult to stick to your budget. Using cash has been proven to help people spend less money overall.
A Financial Emergency Happens
Having an emergency fund is a vital aspect of your budget. If you don’t have one in place, and an unexpected expense happens, it can quickly derail you. But there are things that you do to mitigate the damage and get back on track. Ask for a reduction or payment plan, or find some ways to earn money.
About the Author
Anjana Paul is a banking professional who is passionate about helping others make better choices when it comes to money. In her spare time she is a freelance writer with years of expertise in the financial industry. She primarily writes about topics such as student loans, building credit, budgeting, retirement and other personal finance topics.