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6 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick To The Budget

6 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick To The Budget

Budgeting can make or break your finances, and it can make or break your life goals. Unfortunately, it’s way easier to break a budget than to get it right.  Here are six reasons you can’t stick to a budget—and how to get it right.

1. You’re unrealistic.

We all want to be able to have unlimited amounts of money; however, unless you’ve recently sold a hot internet company, you probably have to live in the real world with me.  So, if you want to stick to your budget, make sure it’s realistic.  Look at your bank account and get a realistic picture of where your money is going. Once you have that, then start slow, and shave off a $20 a month from your “trouble spots” (i.e. eating out, shopping, entertainment) until you’re spending what you can afford.

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2. You think budgeting is too complicated.

Don’t be scared.  Budgets are fun!  Budgets allow you to stop feeling guilty after you spend money. Even if you spend money on a splurge item, you’ve planned for it.  That’s where your money is supposed to go.  Start by breaking down your monthly expenses into spending categories. Some people like to have a lot of spending categories. I don’t.  It makes the process too complicated. I simplify our budget by only having a few categories: house, utilities, giving, food, cars, and shopping.  Those categories cover our entire monthly budget, and it only takes a few minutes to do. So start simply, and you can always add more categories as you get better at sticking to your budget.

3. You’re spending too much.

Don’t be like Uncle Sam!  Make sure you don’t have a budget deficit by comparing what you make to what you’re spending.  If you’re spending more than you make, start by realizing that is unsustainable.  You want to give yourself a bright future, so making sure you’re at least not overspending is the first step. After you get your budget under control, then you can start saving.  But worry about cutting down on spending first!

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4. You aren’t giving it enough time.

It took my husband and me months to get a working budget.  Actually, about 6 months.  So, don’t give up if your budget doesn’t work the first month.  Odds are, it probably won’t.  If you are training for a marathon, you don’t expect to run 26.2 miles the first day.  It’s the same with budgets.  It just takes time to get it right.  Just think of your first couple months as training, and soon you’ll be a budget master.

5. You’re not writing it down.

If you don’t write down your budget, it will be almost impossible to stick with.  Writing it down transforms your budget from an idea to a plan. Plus, you’ll want to reference your budget in the future, so writing it down will be a record of how far you’ve come.

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6. You’re not excited about it.

Let’s face it, if you don’t want to do something, you’re probably not going to do it.  So, get excited about budgeting!  Budgets are your opportunity to plan your future.  Want to become debt free?  Want to buy a house? Want to buy that new bag you’ve been drooling over? By creating a budget, you’re one step closer to your goal.  That’s something no one will be able to take away from you.

By sticking to a budget you can transform your life from out of control to fully in control.  Also, you will be able to pursue your dreams.  Use these six tips to make sure you’re sticking to your budget so you will be able to get where you want to be.

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Featured photo credit: Money Whirlpool/Patrick Hoesly via

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Kelsie Fannon

Kelsie is a journalist and writer who shares about productivity and money tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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