January 12, 2012

We’re about a week and a half into 2012. How are your resolutions going so far? Hopefully, you’re still sticking with them! If you, like many Americans, chose to make budgeting and living frugally one of your goals for the new year, you may be having a little difficulty getting started. It’s okay! As with all resolutions, it requires planning, time and a commitment to make it work.

We wrote about creating a budget on our blog earlier, but what can you do now that you have already gotten started?

Create a visual reminder. It can be easy to forget about your new budgeting plans with everything else going on in your life. Place reminders where you’ll frequently see them: on a calendar, on the fridge, setting an alarm on your phone…whatever works best for you. Soon, your planning will become a habit and you’ll no longer need the reminder.

Reassess each month. Finances can change at anytime, and it’s important that your financial plan is flexible as well. Take an hour at the beginning of each month to make sure your plan is still on track and make adjustments if needed.

Create benchmarks for success. Make sure you have set goals when you start budgeting. It’s much easier to budget and set aside money for a vacation over six to eight months instead of trying to pay for it all in one month. For example, if you want to set aside an additional $500 over six months, plan your budget around reaching that goal. If your goal is to set aside $10 each week, stay consistent. Each budget is personal and tailored to the individual.

Reward yourself! Chances are, you are saving for something important, whether it be a vacation, a new car, higher education or adding to a retirement fund. While working toward your goal, it is a good motivational tool to reward yourself upon reaching certain milestones. This could include a dinner out, a weekend trip or even just a new article of clothing, as appropriate with your budget. You’ve earned it!

How do you budget?