How to stick to a budget:

Budgeting sucks, you are basically agreeing to not have as much fun so you can be ‘responsible’. In the long run you know its better for you, but when has that helped.

This is a common comment from people who are trying to do better with money, once the excitement of setting up a new system has worn off, but it’s the same for people starting a diet, or joining the gym. Once the rush ends, you realise it’s a habit or just part of life now.

So if you feel that you are slipping here are some tips:

1.       Make sure you have some pocket money

Having some personal pocket money you can ‘waste’ on whatever you want, will take some of the sting out. Yes you have to plan for what to spend it on, but knowing you have fun money will reduce the risk of you ‘popping’ and getting the credit card back out.

2.       Remember why you are doing it

If your reason for living within your means is not big enough then spending will win. So you need a big reason, such as you want to go on your overseas trip, or you want to buy a house. Put a dollar figure on it and the time eg I want to go to the States in October 2020 and spend $15 000. This gives you something to compare to buying another drink at the pub or those shoes. If that trip is not important enough you will buy the shoes, but if its more important, you are more likely to resist.

 3.       Be accountable / tell someone

Don’t do this in secret. Tell someone and ask them to check in on you, so you are accountable. That’s what I do as the adviser but if you are doing this DIY you need someone. Also tell those around you spend money with most often that you are trying not spend as you are saving etc, that way (if they are good friends) they wont encourage you to overspend. And who knows they may appreciate it as they are struggling as well.

Good financial habits take time and there is some much cool stuff out there to buy, so its important not to fall for it. Understand it’s a life habit you are building, not a short term fix and don’t fight it.

Alan Borthwick