There are times when major expenses cannot be avoided. You may want to reward yourself with a new car, go on a vacation or buy a bigger house. Your first impulse might be to take out a loan to pay for this; but, it that the wise thing to do? If you have developed the habit of monitoring how much money you make monthly and how much you spend on your expenses, you will know much you can put aside for future expenses.
At the end of the day, creating a budget and sticking to it is the best way to manage your finances. It may not be easy sticking to it but once you have developed the discipline, you will appreciate the freedom it will give you from borrowing money every time a major expense comes along.
Here are a few tips that can help to stick to your budget:
- Prioritize Savings – Determine how much of your take home pay you want to put into your savings account. Once you have chosen that figure, try your best to stick to it. Say it’s 30%. Once you get your pay check, take away the 30% and deposit it in your savings account. What you have left is your budget for your expenses and you must try your best to live within that.
- Use your credit card wisely – When you go out for shopping, remember that using your credit card does not give you the license to go berserk in buying. Remember that you will be billed for every purchase you make and will be charged with interest should you fail to pay on time. Using the credit card has its advantage. It saves you from carrying actual cash plus you earn rewards as you use them. A wise tip in credit card use is this – do not spend on something you don’t have money for at that moment. Do not treat it as a loan that you can pay for “in the future”. Pay your credit card bill in full and not just the minimum amount due. That way you can avoid surcharges and other interests.
- Do away with bad habits – Smoking and drinking are not just bad habits, they are expensive ones as well. Cut them out and put your money to better use.
- Share the responsibility – If you are not the sole breadwinner, share the budgeting responsibility with others – your spouse, roommate or family members who are earning as well. If you see others being careless in their spending, chances are you would be too. If you all have your own responsibilities in keeping the budget, you would be each other’s check and balance.
Next time you want to buy the latest gadget in the market, look into your personal financial statement and see if that expense can fit into your budget. Chances are it will if you know where to look.