The best way to achieve financial milestones is through a budget. But creating a budget and sticking to it are two entirely different things. While on paper, you may have the perfect plan to meet your monthly expenses and grow your savings, in reality, life happens.
The trick to reaching your financial goals involves being prepared, knowing how to deal with setbacks, and finding ways to hold yourself accountable. Here are several tips to help you stick to your budget and achieve financial success.
Begin by reviewing your expenses over the past few months. Be honest with yourself and identify the areas where you spend frivolously. Then, find places you can cut back, but do so minimally. Making drastic cuts to your spending sets you up for failure, just like a very strict diet. Instead, limit some spending categories at first and then build on those cuts in the coming months.
Know Your Triggers
To control your finances, you need to identify your spending triggers. Perhaps you find it challenging to balance time between your work and your kids’ afterschool activities, leading to fast food or meal deliveries. Maybe you’re stressed, and online shopping is your go-to stress reliever.
Once you identify your triggers, you can create a plan to stop them before they start. For example, avoid paying for fast food by meal prepping for the week during the weekends. Or bring snacks in the car to hold the kids over until you can cook later in the evening.
Sleep on Big Purchases
Spending money is too easy today. Thanks to credit cards and Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options, you can purchase just about anything online in a few quick taps. Instead, set a rule to wait at least 24 hours before making purchases, especially big-ticket items. Oftentimes, you’ll find you no longer want the item the next day.
Automate Your Finances
Automating your finances can help you meet your long-term goals while avoiding the temptation to deviate from your budget. Payroll deduction is the perfect tool to set a predetermined amount to come out of your paycheck and automatically deposit it into your savings account.
Our Mobile and Online Bill Pay are a great option for members on the go to make their payments. Doing so guarantees your bills are paid on time by automatically taking the money out of a specific account (such as your free checking account), helping you avoid potential late fees or dings to your credit.
Budget With Your Partner
People rarely have the same financial habits. Some people are spenders while others insist on saving every penny possible. When working on your budget, sit down with your partner and create it together. Doing so will help keep you both on the same page regarding savings and expenses – and it’s a great way to hold each other accountable.
Try No-Spend Days
Have you ever tried to go an entire day without spending any money? It’s more challenging than you may think. Try incorporating one no-spend day each month into your financial plan. As you get comfortable, work to add a no-spend day each week.
We’re Here to Help!
Budgeting is one of the best ways to make your money go further and help you achieve your financial goals. It can seem tedious at times but stick with it, and you’ll learn to limit frivolous spending and alleviate financial stress.
If you’re interested in automating your savings or opening an emergency fund, we’re ready to help. Please stop by any of our Genisys branch locations.
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