Budgeting 101: How to Start a Budget and Stick With it

Budgeting 101

Whether you are interested in beginning a budget for the first time or just need a few tips on how to enhance your current budgeting schedule, you’ve come to the right place. Everyone has or will struggle with budgeting at some point, so it’s important to remember that we are all in this together. Recognizing the need for a budget is an accomplishment of its own, so congrats! You are already on the right track. 

Why is budgeting so important?

Oftentimes, many confuse budgeting as being stingy with money or keeping yourself from buying the things you really want. However, budgeting can actually do the complete opposite. Budgeting can be one of the most beneficial plans you begin. With a successful budgeting plan, you have the opportunity to become financially stable with a few simple steps. Budgeting helps make sure you have money for daily expenses and necessities, while also helping you pay off current debt. When you begin budgeting, you are no longer letting your money control you. Instead, you are in control of your money.

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7 Tips for Sticking to a Budget

Budgeting is the first step in accomplishing your financial goals and dreams. You will find a million and one tips for sticking to your budget plan, but we are here to provide you with only the most beneficial. 

1. Put Your Bills on Autopay

When you receive a paycheck, it can be very tempting to touch the money for fun before paying bills. Nobody enjoys paying bills, but setting up automatic payments can make the process a bit easier without the thought crossing your mind. When your bills are on autopay, the money will come straight out of your paycheck before you have the opportunity to become tempted. This also helps relieve the stress of thinking about all the bills you may have on your plate.

2. Update Your Budget Weekly

For many, budgeting plans can change on a weekly basis, and that is okay! It can sometimes be overwhelming to think about expenses for an entire month. Therefore, it could benefit you to sit down at the beginning of every week and calculate your expected expenses and “play money” for the week. Updating your budget weekly can help keep financial goals at the forefront of your mind, helping you to stay on the right track.

3. Record Your Spending

Have you ever written down every dollar you’ve spent and what you spent it on? Recording your spending can become an eye-opening routine that makes you think twice about how you spend your money. By tracking your spending habits, you will find out what unnecessary items you tend to spend more money on and where you can possibly cut back. You will be surprised how fast spending adds up, and keeping records can help budget for the better.

4. Set Realistic Goals

One important aspect of budgeting plans is to remember to set realistic goals for yourself. Have you ever set a new year’s resolution that went down the drain after a week? You’re not alone. Beginning a budget can be intimidating, but setting unrealistic goals can make the entire process even more daunting. Everyone’s budgeting plan is supposed to look different. Instead of comparing your budget to your friends’ goals, it’s important to understand your realistic goals may look different from the next. By understanding your income and expenses, your realistic goals will help your budgeting plan become a success.

5. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is a great habit to begin as soon as possible. No matter where you are or what your goals are, planning can help make your dreams come to life even quicker. From weekly spending to annual expenses, it’s important to plan ahead for events and expenditures you know are necessary and important. Whether your family takes a sentimental beach trip every year or you want to begin saving for your child’s 10th birthday party, budgeting and planning ahead can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. 

6. Learn How to Say No

Learning to say no can be one of the most rewarding parts of budgeting. Part of becoming a financially stable adult is understanding when to say no. Understanding the importance of saying no can help you reach your financial goals even quicker. However, it’s also important to understand the word “no” doesn’t mean “never.” Oftentimes, saying no just means “not right now.” Whether you are planning a dream destination vacation or are saving up for a luxury purchase, saying no right now can mean saying yes down the road. 

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7. Find an Accountability Partner

From education goals to financial planning, accountability partners can make the process easier. When looking for an accountability partner, be sure to choose someone who is honest enough to tell you when you are slacking. If your accountability partner is too scared to call you out, they aren’t doing their job very well. Plan weekly or monthly phone calls or meetings with your budget buddy to keep each other in the loop on how your budgeting plan is going. Find a friend or family member who wants to begin budgeting and hold each other accountable throughout weeks and months. 


Financial Planning Resources at ASPSF 

Our team at Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund is dedicated to helping single parents across the state of Arkansas lead successful and happy lives by assisting you in accomplishing your goals and dreams. From educational opportunities to financial planning and resources, we can help you get started and stay on track to a successful future. Financial planning is only one of the ways we help single parents in Arkansas. Check out all of our resources on how we can partner with you today.
Posted by Arlene Green at 4:53 PM
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