Creating Accountability in Your Budget!

A budget is only going to work if you stick to the plan. Leaving out items will only curtail the quest for financial security. Just as you would follow a doctor’s medical advice, you should treat your personal budget as a prescription for financial well-being. Skipping a “dose” by leaving out a purchase or postponing a deposit to your savings will only prevent you from achieving the goals you set forth.

Building the budget is a big step. Living with the budget is even bigger. This plan will be your foundation for a long time—as long as it takes to reach your goals, and perhaps beyond.

The best way to stick to a budget is to insert a system that becomes a habit. A habit is the result of repeated behavior. By establishing a means to monitor your adherence to the budget, you create a system of checks and balances that keeps you accountable for your income and spending habits. Establish a set of rules to follow regarding expenditures that exceed your budget plan. Force yourself into a habit of thinking before you spend. And every week, sit down and review your progress to determine how well you have stuck to your plan.

Earlier, when discussing goals, we talked about setting short- and long-term objectives. These goals need to be written into your budget as a reminder of where this plan will take you. Create a set of weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual milestones, such as reducing your energy bills or entertainment expenses by a certain percent or reaching specific amounts in your savings.

In the beginning, when enthusiasm is high, it will be an adventure to follow the budget and find ways to reduce expenses or increase income. Those milestones will provide the motivation to stay aligned with the budget. However, you’ve committed to achieving certain goals, which will require long-term adherence to the budget, so you need to hold yourself accountable and remain keenly aware of how you’re managing your budget.

Sticking to your budget
  • Ensure your budget is reasonable and attainable
  • Keep records of your spending
  • Learn to negotiate spending by reducing costs and eliminating unnecessary expenses
  • Make trade-offs where necessary
  • Analyze your spending on a weekly and monthly basis
  • Adjust your budget where necessary
  • Create a reward system

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