5 Tips to Stay on Track With Your Budget

Staying on track with your budget is not as difficult as it sounds as long as you remember to keep track of all of your expenses and weekly purchases. Here we breakdown five tips to stay on track with your budget with this detailed approach in mind.

1. Divide your Budget Into Sections

When you create a budget for both the short term and the long term, you’re guaranteed to manage your money correctly. The best thing you can do is create a budget divided into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly expenses and expected purchases. Once you have these sections outlined, you can fill in the gaps with your specifications. Once you fill in the blanks and total up the costs, you’ll know how much money you’ll need on a regular basis. 

2. Log Additional Purchases

Always log additional purchases. If you find that you have been spending more than usual, you want to write down these purchases so that you can make up the difference and stay on track with your financial goals. Keeping track of additional purchases will also help you avoid excessive spending. Like monitoring your food intake, the act of writing things down will help encourage you to avoid problematic behaviors.

3. Factor In Spending

Even though you’re working hard towards your financial goals and saving for the future, you should still set aside a general amount for spending. You deserve to splurge on a few items that make you happy every week, such as going out with friends, but you should also be tracking how much money you’re spending so that you don’t accidentally go overboard. Maybe you want to get a few beauty treatments or some new clothes. There’s nothing wrong with that, which is why you should be able to factor in these expenses in moderation.

4. Leave Space for Savings

In addition to the four categories above, you’ll also want to include a separate section for savings. Savings are deliberately vague as they can be tailored to your specific needs. 

For example, if you’re planning to travel, save for retirement, or set aside college funds for your kids, these are individual purposes that your savings account can serve. When you make your budget, it may be more practical to keep the money general if you do not know exactly where the money will be going, but you still want to have money set aside as needed. If you know exactly where you want your money to go, continue dividing up sections as you did with the general budget. 

The more detailed you are, the better you’ll be able to track your money and where it’s going.

5. Use a Budget Calculator

Use an effective budget calculator. You’ll want to make sure that your spreadsheet has enough space for all of your expenses and purchases. Many templates online only contain space for essentials like groceries, utility bills, and other more immediate things. Make sure you have a budget that goes from broad to specific so that you can see where your money is going on a projected timeline. If you’re not able to find a budget calculator that works for you, you can always create your own by just boxing in all of the different categories related to the expenses and purchases in your life. 

Maintaining a budget is a lot like driving to a new place. If you don’t know where you’re going, you follow every direction carefully on your map or GPS navigation. To know where you’re going financially, you’ll want to follow every expense and purchase just as carefully. Keeping track of every little thing will help you avoid oversights, and it will be much easier for you to maintain a steady stream of income over time. 

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