Much in the same way you ditched your low-carb high protein diet within a week, you “forget” to stick to your budget days after tabling it. It’s all too easy to fall off the bandwagon when you encounter the financial versions of deep-fried junk food and high-fructose soft drinks.Beautiful clothes, yummy takeout, and other unnecessary spending make it difficult to follow a restrictive plan that helps you save more. If you’re worried your next attempt at budgeting will be over as soon as the Spice Girls reunion tour tickets go on sale, then keep reading. Here are three simple ways to stay on financial track.
- Don’t do it by yourself.
The word budget may conjure images of an old man wearing a visor and sleeve garters, pouring over bills and using a mechanical calculator to figure out sums. If that’s the case, your imagination needs a shot of adrenaline. The way you can create a budget has changed along with the times.
Though some people choose drafting a budget on their own with a pen and paper, you don’t have to rely on these modest methods to make an effective financial plan. There are award-winning money management apps that automate some of the most challenging steps to creating a budget, including aggregating your financial data and tracking your spending. Check in with this list to see if an app like Mint or Wally could help take some of the burden off your task.
- Think like a Millennial.
The Me Generation is often called lazy andirresponsible, but they’re more than what the media says. They’re actually a wealth of financial knowledge. A recent Bank of America study shows they value financial accountability, with many of them putting away a considerable amount of cash into savings.
Something that sets Millennials apart from other generations is their general lack of trust in traditional financial services. They’re forgoing the usual bank accounts and personal loans for online alternatives. They’re finding automatic savings and fast installment loans online through fintech startups like Mondo, Chime, and MoneyKey. Meanwhile, the generation is turning its back on credit cards altogether, with less than a third of Millennials having one.
Fintech offers a convenient and faster alternative to financial services that are often complex and confusing. Make like a Millennial and see how easy it is to digitize your finances.
- Don’t let inconsistent income discourage you.
Often entrepreneurs, contractors, and freelancers shy away from making a budget because of how variable their income can be month to month. Waiting for late payments from clients and billing large business purchases make it difficult to estimate the average paycheck, so many believe a budget is too strict for their irregular incomes.
Though a budget is more challenging for the self-employed, it’s more important as a financial tool for these workers than anyone else. If your year has highs and lows, create a budget on the lowest earning month. This works as a failsafe should you lose a contract or have to make a large investment in equipment. By working within this limit, it forces you to prioritize expenses that put necessities first. That way, even on a lean week, you know how to spend your cash.
Though simple, these tips are practical. Getting help, gaining a new perspective, and owning your irregular income are three ways to make it easier for yourself when budgeting. Try out a money management app, check in with fintech alternatives, and budget for your lowest earnings. It, more than hoping the Spice Girls’ reunion tour is fake news, can help your chances at sticking of your budget.