5 Ways to Stick to Your Budget

Posted on April 24th, 2012 by Discount Debbie

Budgeting is a great way for Thrifty Divas to save money and just be all around wise with spending. However, setting a budget can be hard. I find it’s especially hard for my family of four from groceries to our entertainment budget. There are a few things that I have done to help me stick to it though. But we definitely have a long way to go. If you have any suggestions of ways you’ve saved money, please help this family of 4 out by telling us in the comments.

1. I always make a grocery list. You’d be amazed at how much money you can save doing this. First of all with the list, you always will have what you need and won’t have to make those “one” item trips to the store. True story, my husband just walked in from the store minutes ago. We ran out of milk because of my bad planning. He went for a gallon of milk and came back with a lot more. In all he spent $10 over what the gallon of milk cost. If my list would have been done correctly, that was $10 we would have saved.

2. I never go to the store hungry. Foods that I would never eat in a million years start to look good to me when I go to the store hungry. I have seen a huge difference in our monthly grocery expense when comparing  going to the store just after dinner and when I am hungry. When I go hungry, I never stick to my list. I always impulse buy and go over my budget. It may sound cliched to say never go to the store hungry, but it will really help you stick to your budget.

3. Never carry cash. This is contrary to teachings like Dave Ramsey and the envelope system, but for me, if I have cash, I am going to spend over my budget. I don’t know how my mind made the shift, but cash to me feels like extra and not a part of the monthly scheme of things when in reality it’s very much a part of the big picture. So if you are like me and cash feels like that, don’t carry it. Nowadays most banks have awesome budget tracking programs that come with your account making it much easier to keep up with your budget.

4. Meal plan as a way to avoid eating out. I would say most of the time we eat out, it’s because my husband comes home from work and I have no idea what to fix. Then instead of figuring it out, we go out and spend the money. By having a meal plan there are no surprises and you are ready to go even the night before. Mentally you are better prepared and you’ll be less likely to go out to eat. Eating out is our biggest budget buster. I was so mad Sunday because our plan was to go home and grill hamburgers and eat what we already had at home. But we were out of propane and we didn’t want to go get it so instead we went and spent $30 on our meal that would have cost pennies at home.¬† Be prepared with your meals!

5. Don’t window shop. Unless you are super saver woman, just avoid this. There is just no such thing as window shopping for me. I see something I want, I am going to buy it. And as I slide my debit card, my budget waves at me from afar. I even stopped going to the mall if my shopping budget was depleted. And if I needed to go in for one or two things I went in, got it and left. Window shopping is a huge budget buster, don’t do it folks.

What are some ways you save your budget?

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