How does an all-inclusive tropical vacation sound? What about a new car with leather interiors and all the bells and whistles? If these big purchases sound like splurges, they likely are based on your finances. However, these splurges may not be totally out of the picture with some good budgeting habits in place.
While budgeting isn’t exactly a fun thing to do, it can lead to having some spending money on hand in the future. The mere idea of budgeting can put you into a saver’s mindset, and that’s exactly what you’ll want. But as everyone knows, saving is much easier said than done. This is particularly the case if you feel the need to treat yourself from time to time!
Budgeting allows you to create a spending plan for your hard-earned money. Think of it as a way of prioritizing and investing in yourself. If you spend all your money at once, you won’t have any later for other necessities. Whether you have a splurge on the horizon or just want to tackle your finances, this article is for you. Keep reading for tips on how to budget better so you can splurge when and how you want.
1. Use Your Debit Card
Take a look at your wallet. How many cards do you use on a regular basis? Chances are you have a go-to credit card that covers most things like gas and groceries. You may also have a few store-specific credit cards stashed away and maybe an airline card as well. While credit cards can help you build up your credit score and can be practical, they aren’t great for budgeting.
To really take your budgeting to another level, make better use of your debit card. With a debit card, you can easily track your spending as opposed to when you use cash. You also never have to worry about overspending or going into debt. They are also accepted at the same retailers as credit cards, so there is really no excuse not to use them.
Some cards go a step further, rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and allocating the extra money to your savings account. This puts your savings in control. You’re able to start putting money towards your splurge without thinking about it on a regular basis. That’s a real win for you and your wallet!
2. Review Monthly
While budgeting once and forgetting it would be an easy strategy, it’s definitely not the best one. Reviewing your spending and budgeting habits monthly can help keep you on track for your goals. It can also put you back into gear if you have been overstepping your set budgeting plan.
Set aside time to go through your expenses each month. Categorize your recurring expenses such as rent, mortgage, insurance, and subscription service payments. Everything else is flexible depending on the month. Make note of basic categories like food, entertainment, travel or leisure, and clothes but choose what makes sense for you. This will allow you to see where you are spending the most and how much.
In order to remind yourself to actually do a monthly review, set up a calendar notification right on your smartphone. You’ll get a monthly reminder to trigger you to take a look at your bank account. Remember to give yourself some grace, especially for the first few months. Nobody is a perfect budgeter. Remember why you want to budget and keep your eye on your goals.
3. Pause and Do Some Math
If you find yourself hemming and hawing over buying something, this tip is for you. Let’s say you are a diehard internet shopper. You find yourself looking at websites to buy something any moment that you are free. Or maybe you see someone have something that you think you need, so you make an impulsive purchase. Before you hit that buy button, take a moment to pause and do some math.
Calculate how much you would need to either work or save in order to afford that item. This comparison quickly allows you to see how many hours you’d have to put in before earning enough for the item. You may realize you don’t really need those sneakers just because your BFF bought them.
If your online purchases are irregular or sparse, then take this tip when you are out shopping. Because you’ve just reviewed your monthly allowance and budget, you know where you are spending extra cash. You also know what it will take to get your savings up to where you want them. Pausing before purchasing is yet another way your wallet will thank you.
Budgeting may be a basic concept, but it is not always easy to do. It takes self-control to spend only on what you really need each month. That said, thinking about your future wishes and aspirations can be a helpful strategy in sticking to your budget. While you will undoubtedly mess up and overspend a few times, thank yourself for having a budget to begin with. That future splurge of yours will be an even sweeter reward in the end.