Adopting a healthy attitude towards money begins with developing a healthy attitude towards spending strategies for budgeting. Budgeting is an essential part of a healthy financial life. It allows you to create a spending plan for your money and ensure you always have enough for the things that you really want.
Studies have found that people who budget, get out of debt faster, achieve their savings goals, and have more control over spending. Creating a budget should be seen as a powerful tool to help you manage your life affairs. Do not view budgeting as a restraint, instead see it as a liberating guide that will help you achieve your financial dreams.
Your money mindset exerts a great influence over how you view and manage your resources. It shapes your spending, saving and investment habits. When reflecting on your own mindset, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself.
Do you have specific financial goals?
Have you defined your goals? Are they quantified? Do you know what you really want? Setting goals helps you decide what to buy and how to differentiate between wants and needs. Cultivate the habit of writing down your goals and work towards them.
Can you identify your needs versus your wants?
When trying to live within your budget, always evaluate your lifestyle and examine if the things you’re spending money on are really necessary. Ask yourself if you really need to buy something or can you live without it. Instead of accumulating massive bills because of your desires, you have to weigh your wants and needs and strive to spend more on needful and essential things. Incorporating spending strategies for budgeting can help you identify these wants versus needs.
Are you able to set limits?
Learn to set spending boundaries to curtail some of your wants. Your spending rate should align with your earnings. You risk placing yourself in huge financial stress if you spend more than you earn.
Have you evaluated your money habits?
Tracking your spending and keeping a spending diary can help you identify your weakest money habits. Writing down each time you make an unplanned purchase or describing what you felt on a recent shopping binge may be uncomfortable, but it’s a proven way to break bad money habits.
Are you willing to increase your income?
To spend more comfortably, you need to earn more. One of the best strategies to live within your means is to look for other sources of income. Some ways to increase your income include doing extra jobs, monetizing your skills and even starting a new business.
Are you disciplined enough to save?
The journey to financial stability cannot be achieved if you can’t save money. One of the ways to practice saving is to cut down on avoidable expenses and stash the money in a savings account instead. The secret to living comfortably within your budget revolves around planning, proper spending, and saving.
If you are satisfied with your answers to these questions, you are well on your way to a cultivating the right money mindset. Now here are some practical suggestions to help you put your money mindset into actions.
Set SMART goals
Remember that the most easily achievable goals are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Instead of just saying “I want to save more this year,” be highly specific and reframe it as “I want to have $2,500 saved for an emergency fund by November 30th.
Create Your Budget Before the Month Begins
Planning your spending at the beginning of each month will help you stay on budget. Always plan ahead. A few days before the start of the month, take some time and plan your next month’s activities and expenses. Once you’ve planned your month, set a realistic budget. Be sure to break down your income, necessary expenses, extra expenses, and your savings contributions.
Keep Bills and Receipts Organized
Keep your bills and receipts organized in case you need to refer back to a bill to dispute it. Set up a filing system that works for you. Choose to file physically via hanging files or expandable folders. If you receive your bills and receipts mostly via email, you may want to file everything electronically. Spending strategies for budgeting can helo with organizing your bills and receipts. It will also help you prepare for tax season.
Prioritize debt repayment
Take time to prioritize your debt. This will help you save money on interest payments and reduce your financial stress, Pay off the highest interest loans first. Be mindful that your credit score may be damaged if your credit utilization is over 30 percent of your limit.
Save before you spend
Most people choose to spend first and save what’s leftover. This makes saving optional and doesn’t ensure consistent saving contributions. Think of saving as a fixed expense and factor it into your budget accordingly. Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.
Expect the unexpected
Emergencies like car repairs or trips to the ER are impossible to predict. That’s why it’s crucial to factor in an emergency fund into your budget. Experts suggest a minimum of $1000. Work to fund this account first.
Observe a no-spend day
Here is a novel idea. Dedicate one day a week where you don’t spend any money apart from what’s absolutely necessary. It is an easy way to make sure weekly spending stays within your budget range.
Create splurge fund
Set aside some extra money as a reward for staying on budget. This could provide the needed incentive to stay on track. You deserve something special for achieving your goals. Think of this like a planned cheat day for your finances!
Remember making a budget and actually living by it are two different things. Creating a budget plan outlining how much income you have for the month versus what you anticipate spending is the easy part. The difficult part is adhering to the plan, day in and day out. This is where the healthy mind set helps you see the bigger picture of why you are saving and working to discipline yourself financially so you can reach your goals. These spending strategies for budgeting can help you manage your spending.