Sticking to a Spending Plan

So, you’ve set a spending plan or budget for your family. You have created this thing to help you plan to spend your money, now what? You are excited and feeling good because you are being a good steward of what GOD has given you.
At the same time, apprehensive because this spending plan/budget thing has never worked for me before. It’s just hard to follow.

So, you’ve set a spending plan or budget for your family.  You have created this thing to help you plan to spend your money, now what?  You are excited and feeling good because you are being a good steward of what GOD has given you. 

At the same time, apprehensive because this spending plan/budget thing has never worked for me before.  It’s just hard to follow.    

So, how do you stick to that spending plan that you meticulously crafted and are so proud of?  After all, for most of us, sticking to a spending plan can be the scariest part of managing money better.   

Sticking To a Spending Plan is a Mind Set

Creating and working with a spending plan is not a one-time and done thing its an ongoing process.  You have to work your money over and over again.  At regular intervals sit down with your spending plan and see where you are and where you need to make changes

 What adjustments do you need to make?  Are you sticking to your spending plan?  Do you need to cut here or cut there?      

Developing the right mindset for building wealth requires practice, as well as tenacity. Managing money well stems from a well-developed set of mental processes and you get a well-developed mental process with consistency.   

Here are a few ideas to help you stay on course.

First, refer to the receipts and records of your spending that you are now keeping.  Compare them to your budget or spending plan.  Do this weekly or even daily, to start with.  I suggest that you set distinct times to work your budget and money. 

Friday evenings, Saturday mornings, or Sunday afternoon, after church are good times (If you have young kids though, they probably wake you up on Saturdays). 

If you are within your budget, you are doing well and do not change a thing.  If you are not within your budget, make the needed corrections and keep monitoring you’re spending.  Keep a check on your spending and your financial situation at the top of your mind.  This can help to curb your desire to spend, spend, spend, and ensures you know how much you actually have to spend.   


Make it a Family Affair

Include the whole family in the budget.  Teach them that the family pack saves money or that saving a dollar this week means having extra money for fun stuff later. Have children go shopping with you and point out what saves you money.  Try putting savings towards something the whole family can enjoy, such as a fun weekend out of town.  Including the whole family in the budget will make it easier to stay on budget and teach good financial habits for the future as well.

Remember your Financial Goals

Remind yourself frequently of your financial goals.  Paying off a big debt, retiring early, or the emergency fund, are financial goals that can keep you on budget.  Keep your goals in front of you.  Post them on your mirror in the bathroom, your car dashboard, and your purse or wallet.  Pull them out and look at them when you are feeling weak. 

Stick to your Lists

Make a list before you go shopping and stick to the list.  Take the list with you and only buy what is on the list! 

It does not matter if it is Wal Mart or Home Depot…stay on the list! 

Additionally, do not go shopping hungry.  When shopping online look for coupons and comparison shop for the best deals.  Talk yourself out of purchases and do not spend money you do not have.  Give yourself some time to consider and rationalize before buying, and if you decide later that you need it, go get it.

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­Be Flexible 

Remember that life is unpredictable, and things happen that are out of our control. When­, you make a budget, try to allow some extra money for variable expenses.  Be gentle with yourself if you go over your budget, it can be hard to get back on track ­if you let yourself get too frustrated over a mistake or two.

­Follow­ing these tips can help you stick to your budget, and you can feel good about keeping your finances under control.  Make sure you update your budget regularly and prioritize your spending and know what is important enough to be worth your hard-earned money.

What are some tips that you use to stick to your spending plan?  Share your thoughts and subscribe to my blog.  I would love to hear from you.

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