1. Freshen Up
Life goes on. Goals change. Take a fresh look at your budget from where you are now. Do you have a purchase in mind you need to save money to get? Are you dealing with a new set of numbers since buying a home or welcoming a new family member? Are you just trying to make ends meet and have a little leftover for a dinner out each week? No matter your motivation, a budget is easier to handle if you can visualize the outcome you want to achieve. Reminding yourself of reasonable and attainable goals (as well as setting you sites on the long-term) will lighten the proverbial load when it comes to budgeting.
Expenses can add up, especially when they are unexpected or spontaneous. Take a look back at the past few months of your spending to evaluate where you may have been stepping over your budget line. Calculate in the amount extra you have had to spend on life’s little surprises. Then adjust your budget to make more room for flexibility. Cutting out the small stuff or consolidating needs is one strategy. For instance, do you pay for cable and a subscription TV system like Netflix? Or do you buy groceries but still end up eating out half the time? Be honest with yourself about your habits and your needs.
3. Hire Help
Writing a budget down is good advice but sharing it with someone else is an even more solid way to help you stick to the plan. A trusted and experienced financial advisor is the ideal second set of eyes and ears. He/She can offer and informed perspective and personalized advice about how to get more bang for your budgeted buck. Haven’t found “the one” (financial advisor) yet? Working with your spouse or roommate can give you that added accountability until you are able to find a trusted planning partner.