It’s one thing to set up a budget, but another to actually stick to it. Implementing extreme budgeting measures can be compared to a crash diet: while easy enough to begin with, you may soon find yourself craving the creature comforts you’ve grown accustomed to and reverting back to your old habits. When it comes to budgeting, all it takes is a little bit of creativity to help you stay committed to your financial goals. For some ideas, try out these methods and prepare to wave the budget blues goodbye:
1. Consider a Low-Interest Loan
Even if you’ve created a budget that you stick to it religiously, there’s no way to predict when an emergency might happen. When life throws a financial curveball your way, consider getting a small loan to help you get back on your feet without disrupting the budget you’ve put in place. Fortunately, there are several lenders out there that are willing to give low-interest loans for low-income families to help defray the cost of unexpected emergencies.
2. Get Organized Before Heading Out to the Supermarket
Grocery shopping eats up a good portion of most families’ budgets. It’s easy to overspend at the store, especially when you go without a list or a good meal in your tummy! The best way to cut costs is to plan ahead for your trip to the supermarket. Figure out what meals you’re going to cook in the weeks ahead and prepare a list of the things you’ll need to make them. Try to buy foods in bulk, use coupons to save money, and don’t be afraid to choose the store’s brand over big names, as the products are usually just as good.
3. Find Things to Do at Home
Many people look forward to the weekend when they can go out to eat, see a movie, and otherwise relax. Unfortunately, these activities are expensive. When you’re on a budget, you can see significant savings if you go out less and find things to do at home instead. Try cooking new recipes and eating in more often, and look for board games or other activities you can do as a family at home. You’ll find that the interaction between all of you is much more fun than staring at a movie screen in silence.
4. Go to the Library
A library is an often-forgotten place full of neverending things to do and learn. Your local library has free movies, books, and activities for children and adults alike to keep you entertained for months. To save your hard-earned dollars, make visiting the library a weekly family event that won’t upset the delicate balance of your budget.
5. Teach the Kids About Energy Conservation
There’s no way around paying utility bills, but you can make sure yours are as low as possible by teaching your kids a thing or two about energy conservation. Encourage them to turn lights and electronics off when they leave a room and remind them to keep their showers as short as possible. Discuss the utility bill with them and let them see the savings from month to month once they’ve put their energy-conscious practices into play.
No one likes to have to stick to a budget, but for most people, it’s a fact of life. You can beat your budget blues and save a bunch of money just by implementing a few (or all!) of the tips listed above.