Budgeting tips

11+ Helpful Tips to Stay Committed to Your Budget

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Our spending habits have an eerie way of catching up with our incomes. It almost seems that our wants and needs become more expensive the bigger our paychecks get. Of course, there is nothing wrong with spending money. After all, we all try to earn more money than is absolutely necessary so that we can pay for the things we enjoy. The problem only starts when our spending habits begin to affect our future stability and our immediate capacity to pay for the things we need.

That said, committing to a budget isn’t a unique challenge by any means. As humans, our brains are wired to seek out rewards even when doing so has a negative impact on our future. Avoiding terrible spending habits is quite a challenge for many other reasons but, with proper guidance and a willingness to learn, it’s usually possible to break out of them.

Here are a few time-tested tips that will help you stay true to your personal financial goals:

1. Switch to a better digital bank

In the Philippines, digital banks have taken the world of personal finance by storm. Emerging banks like Maya now offer easy access to high-interest savings account products that beat typical offers from traditional banks. The transparency offered by the dashboards and automation features of these digital banks can also supercharge your savings by allowing for better budgeting and tracking of your expenses.

2. Sleep on big ticket items

Few people want to admit they have a problem with impulse purchases because this behavior implies a lack of maturity or self-control. Unfortunately, not admitting you have a problem can sometimes make it worse by making it easier to justify excessive spending.

Thankfully, simply giving ourselves time to think things over will help end most off-the-cuff spending. Just sleeping on a purchase can help you see whether it’s justified. If you’re no longer interested after a couple of days, it means that the purchase was never worthwhile. If you’re still bothered after a month or so, then it may be worth deliberating things a bit further.

3. Pay your credit card off ASAP

Credit cards make spending so easy that it’s sometimes difficult to mentally connect purchases to the cash you’re eventually paying out. To avoid serious debt, make it a point to pay off your credit card balance in full each month.

4. Do a spending freeze

Saving cash is a skill like any other — the more you do it, the easier it becomes. To start honing your saving skills, take a break from spending on non-essential items for a set period, like a week or a month. This should help you reevaluate your spending habits and develop your self-control.

5. Consider going with a prepaid phone plan

If you work from home, prepaid phone plans can make more sense cost-wise compared to traditional plans because you can simply use your home internet plan rather than expensive mobile data. Unless you need to make a lot of phone calls, prepaid plans tend to make more financial sense in this scenario.

6. Stop paying for subscriptions you don’t use

Many Filipinos today subscribe to multiple subscription services, both for work and personal reasons. While a lot of these services are useful, it’s easy to over-accumulate them. Canceling any subscription that you no longer use can do much to free up extra cash in your budget.

7. Associate money with labor

Before buying something, think about how many hours you would need to work to afford something you want. Do you need to spend two months worth of your salary to buy a new phone? Does a new pair of shoes cost more than 8 hours of work? Getting into this habit can be transformative and help you make more mindful spending decisions.

8. Plan for big social events ahead of time

Social events like family gatherings and weddings can utterly destroy your budget if you’re not prepared. Plan ahead for these occasions a couple of months or even years ahead of time so that you can better economize on them.

9. Have a friendly competition with a fellow saver

As we said earlier, saving money is not a unique problem. This ubiquity gives you an opportunity to gamify budgeting and potentially help someone else in the process. Make things interesting and challenge a friend or family member to a savings competition. You might find that this simple strategy of holding each other accountable makes budgeting a lot more fun and motivating.

10. Educate yourself about personal finance

The more you know about personal finance, the better the odds of making wiser decisions about your money. Look up online resources, books, or courses to expand your knowledge and view multiple perspectives on personal finance.

11. Learn what makes your brain tick

Understanding your unique spending triggers and behaviors gives you more power over your financial decisions. With a better grasp of your own behavior, you can better control your impulses and stick closely to your budget.

12. Don’t forget to celebrate milestones

To reiterate, the point of having money is to spend it on things you enjoy. The point of budgeting is really just so you can keep enjoying those things for the rest of your life. Celebrating milestones will help boost your confidence and give you a meaningful reason to continue sticking to your budget.

Keeping to a budget requires discipline but it also means setting yourself up to win with a high-interest savings account and an environment that prevents unnecessary spending.

With these tips, your path to financial stability will become much less of a struggle, with savings successes coming to you by routine. Build those positive habits and make sure to enjoy life every now and then.

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