As the new year approaches, we are taking the time to focus on our finances and start better financial habits for the new year.
Of course, one habit that everyone tries to start is budget. Here are seven strategies to use to finally stick to a budget for 2023.
One of the easiest ways to successfully keep a budget is to automate as many payments as possible.
For example, you can automate your rent or mortgage, utilities like electricity and internet, as well as any debt payments. This will help you to know exactly how much you spend every month on these reoccurring bills and have a simple budget line for automatic payments.
You will no longer have to worry about remembering to pay these bills or worry about the consequences of being late on a payment or missing that payment entirely. Instead, you can use this energy to focus on other things in life that are more important than these reoccurring payments.
One thing to remind yourself is that, just like life, a budget is constantly changing.
Your budget will never be the same year from year and even possibly month to month. Understanding that your budget is constantly evolving to fit your needs can help you have more compassion for yourself to stick to a budget.
For example, you may be renting right now, but you may purchase a home in a few months, and your budget will look different from those months.
People often fail to have a budget because it is too restrictive. A budget doesn't have to be restrictive if you don't want it to be.
Some people do really well when they dedicate every dollar to something very specific. Others don't like the strict nature of a budget. If you fall into the second group, have a budget that allows you to pay your bills, have money for saving, and the rest to be used on whatever you want.
Then, you can still budget and have that budget fit your needs from month to month.
Many people who freelance or work on commission feel like they cannot budget. This isn't the case.
A budget can work for anyone, even if you don't have a regular, steady income. If your income changes from month to month, you can still budget, but it may look different than a traditional budget.
Build your budget on percentages of your paycheck instead of a fixed amount. You'll have to look over your budget every month and make sure you have enough to pay your bills, but this is when having an emergency fund comes in handy.
Making a budget should become a habit that you make every month.
It can be at the beginning or the end of the month, but keep it constant. This is a good way to reflect on the previous month, make any adjustments (because budgets are always changing), and set up your next month's budget.
This will help you stay on track with your finances and successfully keep a budget if you make it a habit.
Have someone to help you with your budget. This can be a family member, partner, or even a friend.
This will keep you accountable and also help keep someone else accountable. If you are in a relationship with a partner or spouse, then doing a budget together can keep you both financially aligned.
Often times a budget doesn't stick because not everyone in a household is on the same page about their finances. If you work on a budget together, then everyone will know how where they can and cannot spend.
Budgeting doesn't have to be hard or something you write out by hand. Use tools like Excel, Mint, or budgeting apps to keep a budget.
These online resources can help you be organized and make the actual process of making a budget easier. In addition, you can use these tools as a way to track your spending, which can help you make the most accurate budget.
Use all or a combination of these seven strategies to help you stick to a budget this year.
Find what works for you, and once you've been able to stick to a budget for a few months, you know you'll be able to keep it up. A budget is a basic financial skill to use because as things come up in life, you can reassess your finances and redo your finances.
Your budget in your 20s and your 50s will look very different, but the principle behind a budget will always stay the same.
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