budgeting

Ever dreamt of eating a big juicy burger, so much so that you immediately pull into a cheap fast food place and get something way less satisfying? Or when you’re thinking about freshly baked pastries but grab a “snack cake” from the convenience store instead?

These are prime examples of spending your money without appreciating its value. You may think that impulse buying is a source of immediate gratification. But that’s the fast food burger in the above example.

Why not reap lasting satisfaction you’re dreaming about? Having a well-balanced budget can actually help you get more out of your money. Here are a few quick tips to help get even the loosest budget back on track:

Track and Focus Your Spending

A lot of budget adverse people claim that having a budget makes them feel trapped. They’re worried that if they have to watch everything they spend, they won’t be able to have fun. They’ll think about their spending all the time instead of enjoying themselves.

Fortunately for them, there are plenty of expense tracking apps available, so that they don’t have to be preoccupied. Once people start tracking how much they spend, they start to see where they’re wasting money. It’s one thing to be spending money on stuff you enjoy. It’s another to be wasting it on small, impulsively bought items.

Think about some purchases you made carelessly only to forget about it in a day. Tracking and focusing can help eliminate useless spending so you’ll actually have more money for the things you really want.

Set Goals and Save Towards Something

You don’t need to start putting every cent into savings right away. If you’re someone who likes to spend a little, then make a budget that lets you do just that.

The point is to have fun with the money you’ve worked for so don’t start with a restrictive budget for no reason. Build a budget that allows for your lifestyle and make goals you can reach. Some people are better savers in general and like saving towards something. Vacations are a big motivator for savers and spenders alike. Others might be saving for more permanent things like buying a house. A good budget is the one you can live with, and that’s different for everyone.

Review Your Budget Often

“Monthly” is the recommended timeframe for budget review. It’s enough time for paychecks to have come through and expenses to get paid. Some people may review theirs more than that, which is fine, but less often is not recommended.

Reviewing your budget can also mean adjusting it as you see your habits changing. After tracking and setting goals, you may feel ready to start saving more. Maybe you’re more confident about your financial situation so you go out to dinner. Budgeting can make it seem like you’ve got extra money because your spending changes. Sticking to a budget is helped by the review as well because you’re reminded of the goals you set. As your budget starts to work, your goals might start to change.

Getting the most out of your money is really about paying attention. You pay attention to your spending, you pay attention to what you want. Do you really want to settle for the cheap snack cake or wait for the real deal? A budget may be a bit tough to stick to in the beginning but it’s worth it to try. Tracking your spending and eliminating impulse buying is the first place to start. Keeping budgets and goals realistic is the second. Enjoy your paycheck more with a budget. After all, you earned it!