Have budgeting goals
One reason we don’t stick to a budget is that there’s no incentive. Saving money is not enough of a reason to keep to our agreed limits. Try to envisage what the money you save will be spent on – do you want a new netbook or the down-payment for a car? If so, keeping the big goal in mind can help you stick to your budget of only spending a certain amount on party clothing over the Christmas season, for example
Don’t apply across the board cuts
Many novice budgeters think that you have to ‘cut all expenses’ but that’s not the case. There are places to cut expenditure: overdrafts, eating out, entertainment, then the places that you shouldn’t skimp: good shoes, well-fitting clothes, heating etc and finally the places you can make judgements for yourself: posh food or designer clothes? 4 star hotel or budget one?
One reason budgets fail is that you don’t keep track of them. You can do this either with envelopes containing the money you can spend in each category each month. Once an envelope is empty, no more spending in that category until next month. Or by using a simple spreadsheet that connects to your bank account to keep track of what you’re doing.
Think about ways you can enjoy your expenditure. Go shopping with friends – even online shopping can be done with friends: order in a pizza and get together to browse an online retailer, placing a bulk order so that you save money on delivery costs by buying in bulk together!