How to Start a Budget You Actually Stick To

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Day 4: Face Your Finances Series

This post is part of the Face Your Finances series. You can achieve financial freedom sooner rather than later. You don’t have to settle for a life of debt, financial overwhelm, and living paycheck to paycheck. Don’t let your current financial situation make financial freedom feel impossible. It’s time to reclaim control and face your finances!

So you want a life of financial freedom. That’s great! But, it’s not enough to want to achieve financial freedom without being a little strict with your money.

Being strict shouldn’t be seen as a negative or something that’s difficult to do. Actually, it’s quite easy. The only thing it requires is a successful budget and a lot of self-control.

So, maybe for some, it’s not that easy. But it is possible and it is necessary.

I think that many people roll their eyes at budgets, or they are quick to say they don’t want to start a budget because it doesn’t work for them.

In a way, budgets are like diets. Some work, some don’t.

Budgets are not a one size fits all. They are unique to each person’s experience, situation, and lifestyle.

We might have the same job, make the same amount of money, and have the same friend group, but we should NOT have the same budget. Budgets are personal and should be customized based on your circumstances.

Another thing that tends to hold people back from starting a budget is the idea a budget can’t be changed once it’s made. I’m here to tell you that’s not true at all.

Just like life changes, your budget should change. The beauty of listing out all your finances and understanding how you spend every dollar is that you can create a successful, evolving budget to keep that money in check.

Maybe you get a new job and start making more money. Or, maybe you cancel a gym membership and start running around the neighboorhood. Or, maybe you get married and inherit a second income. All of those are reasons to make adjustments to your budget.

With all that said, it’s time for you to start a budget that you can actually stick to and have success with.

To help you start a budget, today we will focus on the following:

  1. Why have a budget
  2. How to start a realistic budget
  3. Free budget template

Related:

A 7 Step Guide to Create an Easy to Follow Budget
Create a Budget to Kickstart Your Savings
Travel Seattle on a Tight Budget

Let’s talk about how to start a budget you actually stick to!

1. Why Have a Budget

Should you or shouldn’t you bother with having a budget?

Yep, you should!

For one, financial experts and relatively anyone good with money swear by a budget. Budgets help ensure financial security, it sets you up for a successful savings account, and it gives you control to be flexible and make adjustments when needed. 

Here are just a few reasons why you should have a budget:

  • Budgets help you to avoid spending money you don’t have
  • They help you stay focused
  • It will highlight poor spending habits or bills that are too high
  • They help you prepare for emergencies or unexpected costs
  • Budgeting is an effective tool that anyone can use

If money is tight, if you are saving for a large purchase, or if you need to practice control in order to achieve that life of financial freedom, you need to start a budget. 

Recommended: 10 Fun Valentine’s Day Date Ideas on a Tight Budget

2. How to Start a Realistic Budget

Budgets are only successful if they are realistic. The fastest way to fail at budgeting is by setting an unrealistic goal for yourself.

To help create a realistic and easy to follow budget I’ve created a budgeting template for you to download and complete.

Once you’ve downloaded the budget sheet, follow these steps to help you fill the template out:

  1. Get your total monthly income. The blog post from the first day in this series goes into detail on how to do that. Read it here.
  2. Figure out your monthly bills, debt, and additional expenses. The blog post from the second day in this series goes into detail on how to do that. Read it here.
  3. Categorize your expenses into ‘major categories’ such as household and automotive expenses, and ‘minor categories’ such as subscriptions and entertainment.
  4. Make any necessary cuts to your spending. 
  5. Total up all your expenses.
  6. Figure out your leftover monies. For example: If you make $1500 a month and have $800 in bills, your leftover money is $700.
  7. Decide how much you will set aside for savings (we will go more in-depth with savings in tomorrow’s blog post).

Recommended: How to Manage Money When You’re Broke

It’s time to start a successful budget!

I’m excited for you to start a budget. This is a huge step that will help you on your journey toward financial freedom. And remember, if something isn’t working, you can always make changes.

You got this!

Tomorrow will be all about my favorite topic: savings! See you tomorrow!

Check out all 7 posts from the Face Your Finances series:

Day 1: How to Do a Financial Inventory With Your Money
Day 2: How to Understand Your Spending in 3 Easy Habits
Day 3: How to Face Your Credit Card Debt in 5 Easy Steps
Day 4: How to Start a Budget You Actually Stick To
Day 5: How to Save Money Like a Pro
Day 6: 17 Way to Increase Your Income
Day 7: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future

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