How to stick to a budget

How to stick to a budget

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Having a budget is one thing, but actually sticking to it is a different matter. We can all make promises on spreadsheets about cutting back our spending, but when reality bites, how do we make sure that we keep to our plans so we can save for the future?

How to stick to a budget

The best way to stick to a budget is to keep track of your outgoings as the month goes on. This way, you can see if you’re creeping closer to your spending limit and rein in your spending accordingly.

How to stick to a budget

The best way to stick to a budget is to keep track of your outgoings as the month goes on. This way, you can see if you’re creeping closer to your spending limit and rein in your spending accordingly.

Why you should stick to your budget

If you’re not sticking to your budget, it’s not really worth the paper it’s written on. The whole point of a budget is to plan how you’re spending your money, so if you’re ignoring it, then you might want to go back and see if you were too ambitious with your goals.

While it’s not always possible to stick to a budget due to unexpected costs (e.g. paying for car repairs), you should always try to stick to a budget as overlooking it is a slippery slope. Although you might tell yourself that it’s a special occasion or exceptional circumstance, it won’t be long before those boundaries shift and you find yourself making excuses for your spending.

How to stick to your budget

Äs tough as it can be, there are ways of sticking to your budget. Here we run through our top tips on how to manage a budget and sticking to it throughout the month.

Track what you spend

Tracking what you spend is really important, as by doing this, you can see if you’re on course for going over budget. If you don’t track your outgoings, you might end up way off your target budget at the end of the month.

By keeping tabs on your spends as the month goes on, you’ll also get a better sense of how much you should be spending a day or over the course of a week.

Set an allowance

If you’ve figured out how much money you’ll have to spend after you’ve taken care of all your bills, setting yourself an allowance is a great way to stick to your budget. Rather than having one pot of money to last you for the rest of the month, an allowance makes it clearer what you can spend each week or even every day.

Allowances can be flexible too. For example, if you’re going out for dinner at the weekend and think you’re likely to spend more than you’ve got for that day, you can try to avoid spending as much money in the days or weeks prior to the dinner. That way, you haven’t had to miss any events because of your budget, but you’ve still avoided spending too much.

To set yourself an allowance and start planning your budget, check out our budget planning spreadsheet.

Leave cards you don’t need at home

Leaving the credit card at home when you go out to the shops is a great way of saving money. You’re more likely to spend money if it’s on credit than if it’s your own money, so by not taking it with you, you’ll think twice about the purchases you make. If you’ve got more than one bank account, you can also do this for accounts with money in them that you don’t want to spend.

Use discounts

Finding discounts is a great way of sticking to your budget as it can free up a bit of extra money that you might have allocated to one of your spends (e.g. food shop). There are lots of websites out there with deals across a number of products, so the best thing to do is start searching through the sites like Wowcher for deals on things that are in your budget.

Plan your food shops

Weekly food shops can often end up being one of your biggest expenses each month, especially if you’ve got a big family. By planning your meals and your shop, you can save loads of money compared to if you just head to the shop and buying whatever takes your fancy.

Similarly, if you plan your food shops, you can even include this expense in your monthly budget, meaning there won’t be any nasty surprises when you go to pay at the checkout.

Looking for even more help with sticking to a budget? Our current accounts can help you keep aside for your bills, allowing you to focus on everything else.

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