The holidays are a notorious time for overspending and sinking further into debt. Before you walk this slippery slope this Thanksgiving weekend and upcoming holiday season, consider these three tips for sticking to your budget.
Developing an accurate and detailed budget is only half the battle. After putting you budget on paper, it becomes time to follow through with your goals and adhere to the rules. Depending on your personality, financial obligations, and tendencies, this may be easy or difficult. Either way, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
• Find a partner. Regardless of how responsible you are, it’s important that you let someone in on your budget to keep you accountable. Give them access to your budget, let them view your statements, and tell them to check on you periodically. Knowing someone else is watching can keep you honest.
• Deal in cash. Spending money is always more difficult when you hand over cash, as opposed to plastic. One of the best ways to stick to a budget is to only spend in cash. This forces you to think about what you are purchasing and how much it costs.
• Make it visible. If your budget is hidden in some hard-to-find computer file, you are less likely to review it on a regular basis. For best results, handwrite or print off your budget and place it somewhere visible. This may be on the bathroom mirror, in the kitchen, or on your desk.
A budget is only as good as your ability to keep it. Whether you’ve been unsuccessful in the past or think of yourself as a responsible spender, these three tips can help you stay on track and avoid many distractions.