Make your budgeting plan, then stick to it
Budgets fail for a number of reasons, according to Patricia O’Sullivan, managing director of Protraining. They are either too restrictive, or tracking expenses becomes exhausting.
In other cases the person did not set a bigger goal or they failed to adjust the budget as they went. Not bringing spouses or family members on board is another ingredient for disaster, as is the failure to anticipate unplanned expenses. Finally, some do not give their budget enough time to work.
But there are ways to improve your chances of success. “Have a concrete, visible and larger goal that provides motivation and rationale for having a budget in the first place, for example, paying off the credit card; saving for a deposit on a house; education fund; a holiday; investment etc,” says Ms O’Sullivan.
Starting with a baseline of about a month’s current spending habits will help set a budget that is realistic.
“Also consider using one of the many excellent phone apps on the market for tracking expenses,” she adds.
Explaining and sharing the plan with family members to encourage support and teamwork will also help.
It is important to distinguish between needs and wants when making purchases, which is a good habit for family members of all ages to acquire, says Ms O’Sullivan.
“Be aware of your weaknesses and shopping habits. Avoid mindless purchases, shopping without a list, frequent trips to places that can tempt you to break the budget plan,” she says.
And always expect the unexpected. “Build in a margin for emergencies or the inevitable unplanned expenses, ideally keep a separate fund for those incidents.
“Persist – replacing old habits with new takes time. If you go off track, don’t give up the entire budget, instead get back on track.”
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