Your Questions About How To Get On A Budget And Stick To It

Lisa asks…

How do i get a budget and stick to it?

Ive never really had to learn how to budget before now. I need help on how to really stick to one and not get tempted to get off track.

richmama answers:

The budget part is easy. Sticking to it is all up to you.

I use a zero dollar budget. It’s easier to stick to it because every dollar has a name and a mission. You can control your money or your money can control you.

The first lines in my budget are essentials: mortgage, food, utilities, etc. Then I list all my debts.
One of my lines is a ‘blow’ line. I know I’m going to blow some money so I just put a dollar amount in the blow column. I also have a savings line, and a holiday line.

Every dollar I make is spread over those lines. I use the envelope system to track my spending.

If I put fifty bucks in the blow column then I write down there where, what, when, and how much on the envelope. Once that fifty bucks is gone then there’s no more blow money to spend.

Carol asks…

How do you make a budget, and stick to it?

I am a student living at home and have got myself into a bit of a financial problem. Thankfully living at home it means If I stick to a very tight budget I will clear the debts by mid March. I feel like I’m learning a lesson and hope that because of this I will be far more careful in the future….

The question is though how do I decide on a budget and make myself stick to it? all tips will be much appreciated 🙂

richmama answers:

Write down have much you have each week or each month to spend (after tax). Whether you choose to do it weekly or monthly should depend on how often your job pays you or you get benefits payments or whatever.

Write down how much you have to spend on ESSENTIAL items (rent, utilities bills, course books, etc). If you have debts to pay off, you’ll also want to include the payments that you’ll be making for these in this section.

Subtract the second figure from the first. That is how much you have to spend on items which are non-essential. So, you can have that amount as your “spending money”, or you can break it down further and have x amount for entertainment (cinema etc), x amount for socialising (beer and eating out), x amount for clothes, etc. You might also want to set an amount aside for savings.

The best tips for sticking to it are:

– Don’t set your budget too tight. If it’s impossible to stick to, you’ll become discouraged and won’t do it. If you have no money at all for non-essentials, you won’t be happy – even if your only luxury is a can of lager in front of the telly, you need to treat yourself sometimes.

– Whatever amount you have to spend each week, withdraw it from the bank IN CASH and put it in your wallet. Leave your cards at home. When you’ve spent all your cash, that’s it – you have to wait until next week to buy something.

Richard asks…

How do you set a budget and stick to it?

It‘s really struck me recently that I spend a lot of money on things that I don’t really need and I want to change. I earn a fantastic salary and would rather be saving a substantial amount of that money than just spending it on thigs for the sake of it!

My partner suggested that I work out the abosulte minimum that I need to get by for the week and stick to it, for example if I needed £100 for bills and food and everything with a little something extra for a treat then I should stick to that sort of budget.

What do you think?

richmama answers:

Personally I would leave myself with a little extra as there is always something that crops up! What I do is have a separate account which all my bills come off via Direct Debit, I have a spreadsheet that shows everything I have to pay for over a year and then divide by 12 so I knowo how much I need to put in that account each month (this helps me budget to pay for annual costs such as car and home insurance etc), then when my salary comes in, I have a standing order which takes this amount straight out into my ‘bills’ account. I also have a savings accout setup, so that a set amount goes into that every month again by standing order, so then I am only left with the money I have set myself to get though the month.
The thing is, you have to give yourself enough to actually get though the month and accept that you will spend some money on clothes and going out etc, so make sure you are left with enough or you will just dip into the savings and once you start dipping in you will find you keep doing it.
You could even set up more than one savings account and mentally assign them to something special you want to save for, e.g. One for Christmas, one for holidays, one for house / family etc.
Good luck, I think it’s great that you are making an effort to do this.

Ken asks…

What’s the best way to plan a holiday budget?

Over spending around the holidays is a real problem in this country. Got any advice on how to plan a budget and stick to it?

richmama answers:

Save now by not spending not at all and you dont overfill the landfill

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