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What tricks and tips would you give to help people stick to a budget?


Asked by Erica_Smerica at 12:46 AM on Sep. 3, 2010 in Money & Work

Level 28 (34,798 Credits)
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Answers (12)
  • Set goals, but be realistic. It's too easy to become discouraged when you can't meet unrealistic goals.

    Create a written budget. Realize that some areas are variable and try to cut back in those areas.

    Use a written or computerized money management system. You can't do this in your head and keep track of every little detail.

    Put something in savings every paycheck. If you've got a good budget to live within your means and can adjust down on the variable expenses, there's no reason to touch savings unless it's an emergency or something unexpected happens.

    Use an envelope system if you're not disciplined enough to stick to your budget with a checkbook or debit card. ABSOLUTELY NO BORROWING FROM OTHER ENVELOPES!

    You know that Christmas, birthdays, certain special events, and school happen every year. Budget for them ahead of time.

    Learning to cook from scratch is a big money saver when it comes to grocer

    Answer by michiganmom116 at 9:56 AM on Sep. 4, 2010

  • Use your freezer as much as possible. When I make dinner I make extra servings as "frozen lunches" so we don't eat out. We buy flavored creamer so we don't got out for coffee. I also prep food like make a big salad for the week.

    Our biggest budget killer was eating out... so these things made a huge difference.

    Answer by Niki_sd at 12:56 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • using excel and making list of things you need compared to what you want..... saving and planning!!!

    Answer by pinkdena at 12:48 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • I like the envelopes. You pay all your bills, and then put an envelope for food and one for fun and put your budget dollars in each. When you are out, you are out.

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:48 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • get rid of your debit card! lol. Any place that doesn't take checks- ie fast food, you won't be able to enjoy without the hassle of going to the bank and making a withdrawl. We are learning to stick to a budget because my husband went from $25 an hr to a whopping 8.75.... yeah. I'm a sahm, we have 4 kids under 5. SUCKS! let me tell ya! but using checks means you have to write every thing down!!! Budget your bills for the whole month, and the next month. Plan when you're paying what's due around pay periods, and keep a notebook somewhere handy. Leave it on the table, open, or desk. That way it's easily accessible to remind you what's due, and also once you pay something, you can mark it off. Do it two months at a time so if you have a one time expense- say renewing your license or tags, etc- you'll know to budget that one ahead of time so it doesn't sneak up on you. Good luck! it's tough!

    Answer by KariLyn84 at 12:52 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • my mom does the envolopes and it works great for her. i would also suggest to start slowly cutting things out (if you can afford it). don't try to cut your spending in half in one week, cut away $10 each week until you reach were you want to be. also and have some money set aside for fun stuff. for example you can spend $10 a month on something that is just for fun, like renting a movie or going out for icecream.

    Answer by happy-go-lucky at 12:58 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • Track ALL your expenses for at least 3 months so you can see EXACTLY where your money is going. Scrutinize your "needs" ... many of them are actually "wants". Cut back wherever you can ... even the little things can add up. Pay yourself (save) first, then you'll be forced to make do with the amount you've budgeted for the bills for the month and you'll be less likely to splurge. If you have a cc, use it only for convenience (not because you don't currently have the funds for whatever it is you're buying) and make sure you pay it off monthly. Set goals, whether it's to save a certain amount in a year's time or to reduce your debt or whatever ... and stick to it! Live slightly below your means. Once you implement some changes, you will not only notice the difference but you'll be more inclined to say "what else can I do?" and you'll find yet other ways to hold on to your $$$ ... make a challenge of it!

    Answer by FootballMom85 at 7:32 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • Post your budget and your goals somewhere that you can see them to remind yourself what you are working towards. We keep our budget and our list of "wants" on our refridgerator door so that we have to look at it several times a day. It realy does help keep us focused.

    Answer by slw123 at 11:15 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • I like the envelope system too! Absolutely love it!
    pinkdena- that is a great idea!

    Comment by Erica_Smerica (original poster) at 12:50 AM on Sep. 3, 2010

  • Stay in the house

    Answer by Seterah1010 at 5:09 AM on Sep. 3, 2010