Living on a budget: sticking with your budget after you have created it

Creating a budget is a good step in the right direction, but the thing that is really important is staying with it!

Experts estimate that over 60 percent of people who make a budget end up abandoning it by the second month. If you truly want to reap the benefits of your budget, you have to decide how you can best live with it. Here are some tips to help you do that:

Commitment: You must be committed to stay on your budget no matter what. If you allow yourself to break it every time things get a little tight, you will soon be ignoring it altogether. It is like going on a diet - once you cheat once, it is so much easier the next time!

Set Goals: As in dieting, it is easier to stick to a budget if you have specific goals and know why you are doing it. Do you have high credit card debt you want to pay off? Do you want to pay off your house (or buy one)? Goals like this can give you the motivation to stick to your budget.

Try spending only cash: one of the best ways to limit your spending is by spend ing only cash. Take out the money that you need for the week and keep it in an envelope. If you run out, then you are done for the week - you don't spend any more!

Also, it really makes you think when you are handing over actual cash as opposed to putting a purchase on a card. How many times have you gone through the motions of paying for a purchase with your debit card and after leaving the store wondered how much it was that you just spent, because you didn't even look? I have done it more times than I can count! If you know you will be paying with cash, you will be more careful when choosing your purchases.

Reverse Credit: An easy way to 'save' for something expensive that you want to buy is to buy a $20 gift card for that store. Keep doing this each time you have another $20 toward your goal and save them up until you have enough for your purchase.

You can use this 'reverse credit' idea for more than just saving for large items when living on a budget. You might use it to budget for something you buy on a regular basis, such as morning coffee. If you want to limit your spending at the coffee shop choose an amount for the month and put that amount on a gift card at the beginning of the month. This is an easy way to pay for things (no fumbling with loose change), keep track of how much you spend, and limit your spending, too - when it is gone, you are done for the month!

Take your lunch to work: Taking your lunch with you to work or school can save you $100. a month or more. Not only will you save money, you will most likely eat healthier, too. With a little preparation and planning it is easy to do.

Shop Consignment and Thrift Shops: You can save a lot of money and find some wonderfully unique things when you shop at resale shops. If you are living on a budget and have never considered this option, you owe it to yourself to look into it today!

Start teaching money skills to your kids early on: Teach your kids to appreciate the value of money and the importance of saving and having a budget. It will make your frugal life so much easier if the kids are on board, and it will help them to live better on whatever income they have when they are financially independent.

Share your secrets for staying on a budget

How do you stick to your budget? Share your secrets for living on a budget here!

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