The easiest way to keep track of how you are doing is to print out a copy of you master budget with blanks under each category for you to fill in. This way, every time you buy something you can record it on this piece of paper. During this process you will also be able to see how close you are getting to your spending goals, and identify areas where you may need to slow the spending. It is also a great feeling when you go to record a bill that you just paid and see that it didn’t cost you as much this month, so you have a little extra cash for another area.
Below are a few tips for how to get back on track when you realize you’ve wandered a little too far from your budget.
1. Buy in Bulk- Buy food items in bulk one month so that you don’t have to buy that item again for a while. Buying in bulk can save you money because the price for each unit in a bulk package is usually less than the cost of buying a single unit.
2. Focus on Bills - You may have to sacrifice some shopping one month, but you will thank yourself in the end. Always pay your bills first, and then see how much money is left over for other spending categories. Pushing off payments on bills may result in late fees, which will push you farther outside of your budget.
3. Work Out for Cheap- Gym memberships can get pretty costly. If you are struggling one month try cancelling your membership and finding exercises that you can do at home with everyday objects.
Overall, keep yourself honest. If you see that you are spending too much, get creative and sacrifice a little on things that are not absolutely necessary.