Many struggle with the task of tracking income vs. expenses. Paying for food, a place to live, utilities, clothing and transportation all together can become an intimidating mountain of financial responsibility each month. It’s tough to climb it without proper budgeting.*
People can talk a good game about wanting to save money for specific things (car, house, vacation, etc.) but the actual reality is a bit more difficult. In fact, sticking to a budget can be a downright frustrating, discouraging process. Perhaps that’s why so many people fail to stick to a budget over the long-term (or short-term). The good news is it can be done.
Remaining consistent with a budget is the only way to secure the best financial future for yourself and your family. To do this, it’s best to act on some clear steps to move forward with a budget process.
1. Define Budgeting Goals
Define goals for future cash needs and how bills will be paid. Look ahead a few months to see if this budget will need additional resources in the form of a personal cash loan. These are much different than so-called payday loans.
If it’s discovered that extra cash resources are needed, start budgeting right away. Work toward managing this month’s bills and limit outgoing expenses as much as possible. Doing so does not mean it will be like this forever, but paring down really helps people think about and stick to a budget going forward. Understanding your goals can help in a few other key ways:
- Setting financial priorities reveals your true needs.
- Goals provide much-needed direction for how to budget.
- Establishing a timeline helps maximize savings goals.
- Striving for something specific makes sticking to it a bit easier.
Ultimately, your budget needs to reflect your end goals and the path you’ll take to get your money working for you.
2. Track Your Spending Habits
Create a system to track your spending habits. If you’ve allotted $25 a week for going out to lunch, but you’re regularly doubling that amount, then you’re not being true to your budget. Perhaps a person has budgeted $150 a month for gas. This one’s a bit trickier because people don’t just drive around aimlessly wasting gas – it’s needed. But if the gas spend is consistently $200, then adjust your budget to match a more realistic financial expectation.
If it helps you to track your expenses using your mobile phone, try using a money management app on your phone to track the expenses. This option really helps show how those unplanned purchases add up.
3. Transform Small Changes into New Money-Saving Routines
Budget control is the same as tackling any big problem. To make it less imposing, break it down into smaller tasks. Take small savings steps first and then those will eventually turn into a normal routine. Here are some small changes worth considering, though make your own list of quick cuts:
- Instead of buying Starbucks coffee every day, try to buy only once or twice a week. That will save at least $10 a week.
- Used to eating out five times a week? Limit that to one or two times (or 1 to 2 times per month and bring leftovers to work). The savings from something so simple will be amazing. That money can now go toward long-term financial goals and priorities.
- Try to do your own routine home and car maintenance, instead of visiting the car shop. Changing an oil and filter isn’t that hard to do, for instance.
Many people quit budgeting because they get too overwhelmed and lose track. This often happens because they dive into the deep end without knowing how to swim. Take on this new skill slowly and learn your way around. It’ll make the entire process easier.
4. Review Progress Monthly
Every month set aside an hour to add up expenses against income. If spending levels are constantly higher than income, budget shortfalls will happen every month. It’s important to do a monthly review of budget costs and cash flows because bad spending habits can be identified and stopped more quickly.
Taking out a loan can help maintain financial control. LoanMe is the online lender that provides immediate cash loans, which helps people get back on track with their budgets. Good luck.
*This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal, financial, tax or accounting advice, is not to be acted on as such, and is subject to change without notice. Credit approval is subject to LoanMe’s credit standards, and actual terms (including actual loan amount) may vary by applicant. LoanMe requires certain supporting documentation with each new application. If you have any questions regarding this, call us at 844-311–2274. California loans are made pursuant to LoanMe’s California Department of Business Oversight Finance Lenders Law License #603K061. LoanMe also offers loans in certain other states which may have higher minimum loan amounts. Copyright © 2015 LoanMe, Inc. All rights reserved.