Tell Us Tuesday: Sticking to a Budget

by Kelly · 6 comments

in Tell Us Tuesday

Today’s Tell Us Tuesday topic comes from Imene (that’s right, the same Imene of a Journey to a Simple Happy Life from This is What Frugal Looks Like). She asked:

How do you stick to your budget?

When I first saw her tweet, following my call on Twitter for topics for Tell Us Tuesday, I sure hoped she was suggesting a question and not asking me specifically! Anybody who has been reading this blog for any length of time (as she has) should know better than to ask ME how to stick to a budget! That’s why Beth has come on board- to give you advice as to somebody who manages to actually walk the frugal talk.

Over the past few years though, I’ve gotten slightly better at sticking to a budget. Part of that is because the budget isn’t so tight anymore; I have found that below a certain level of money brought into the house, there’s just no way things will balance and there’s nothing else to be cut. I’ve also gotten a lot better about random spending and most importantly, planning ahead. I’m still not great at it though, so I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts as well!

So tell us: How do you stick to your budget?

{ 6 comments }

1 shabadeux April 6, 2010

I find that it is best to use cash when possible and practical. This month I bought most of my groceries at the beginning of the month. I stocked up on gluten-free staple foods and more than a month's worth of meat. That left me with about $50 left for odds and ends for the rest of the month. I keep the cash in an envelope in my apartment and I am using it little by little.

It is much easier for me to recognize and respect my limit with cash. Credit and debit cards are too easy to overspend with. Even though I pay my credit card off every month, it still makes it psychologically easier to overspend.

2 Jessica April 6, 2010

I am still working on sticking to a budget, but two things that have helped me are writing it out and balancing it as the month goes on. I also keep a list of "unexpected expenses" (things I forgot to budget for) so that I can remember to add them or adjust my categories if I need to.

This month I am also trying the envelope system for eating/drinking out. So far (okay, I know it's only the 6th) I like it. It's definitely more real when it's cash and hopefully it will make me stick to my limit.

3 Nancy April 7, 2010

Like the 2 previous commenters, I find that cold hard cash keeps me accountable. I've been using a specified amount of cash only for food/household purchases and gasoline since late December and we've managed just fine. I need to keep pushing myself to continue using cash for additional expenses.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..why didn't i think of this sooner? =-.

4 AMD @ Make Do, LIve April 7, 2010

I usually completely crash some particular aspect of my budget, but almost always come in under my overall budget. I use mint.com and track my spending every couple of days. I always know how much I've spent so far in the month. If something comes up (or I go overboard in some particular area), I adjust my other expenses according.

Like, Kelly, I've found that having a realistic budget helps if you're actually concerning about "sticking to a budget". Kudos to couples who spend $150/month on groceries, but we don't and don't want to! My grocery budget may seem bizarrely excessive to some people, but its a budget that I try to stick to, usually manage to, and that works for us. We compensate for it by keeping expenses low in other areas.
.-= AMD @ Make Do, LIve Well´s last blog ..Desk Lamp =-.

5 Dena April 7, 2010

I find that it is easier to stick to my * hypothetical* budget by staying out of the stores.I only shop on Saturday mornings.If I run out of something I refuse to go out for it.I will make due.I take a list and I'm hard pressed to veer off the list.I plan meals,clip coupons and drink water to save.Anything I save via coupons I drop into a jar on the counter.Once a month I take my jar to the bank and deposit it into my savings account along with DH's coin jar.It really does add up.

6 Kelly April 8, 2010

Dena- totally agree! I wouldn't go as far as saying that I always buy something when I'm in a store, but I have a much easier time sticking to my budget if I don't go in a store. This includes grocery shopping- if I buy online I tend to spend less!

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