How to Beat Budget Busters
If you want to have control over your finances, a budget is essential. Knowing exactly how much money you have coming in each month and how much it will take to pay bills, buy the things you need and save a little, is the best way to prevent a financial meltdown. But it only works if you follow it closely.
Sometimes sticking to a budget is easier said than done. Everyone has a lapse every now and then, and while a couple of dollars won’t make a huge difference, it can add up when it happens repeatedly. This will throw off your budget, and it could leave you struggling to come up with the money for the things you truly need.
By planning ahead and avoiding impulse buying, we can beat the budget busters. Here are some tips:
* Pack your lunch instead of eating out every day. But don’t just slap a sandwich together. If you incorporate some variety into your lunches, you won’t be as tempted to indulge in fast food.
* Make your own coffee to take with you instead of stopping at the coffee shop. It’s much cheaper to brew it yourself, and a good insulated coffee mug will keep it hot for hours.
* Don’t go window shopping. The temptation can be overwhelming, making it hard to come home empty-handed.
* Go to stores only when you need something specific. Make a list and stick to it.
* When going on trips, buy all of the snacks and drinks you’ll need at the grocery store and bring them along. Prices are usually much higher at convenience stores.
* If possible, do your shopping without the kids. They have a way of finding something that they just have to have during any shopping trip, and it can be hard to say no. Try to shop while they’re in school, or have a friend or family member watch them while you shop.
* Avoid buying things just because they’re on sale. Finding things that you need and will use at a discount is wonderful for the budget, but making purchases that will do nothing but collect dust is a waste of money, no matter how good a deal you get.
* Institute a waiting period on non-essential purchases. When you see something you want or feel that you need (other than basic necessities), give yourself a couple of days to mull it over instead of buying right away. Once you’ve had the chance to think about it, you may find that you didn’t really need it after all.
Breaking the budget is an easy thing to do. But getting back on track can be much harder. If you plan ahead and think about purchases before you make them, you can save yourself some money and keep your finances manageable.