• How to Stick to a Budget Without Going Crazy {A Money Expert’s Tips}

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    “Live within your means” and “save money” are simple golden rules of financial wellness, but many of us still make bad money choices knowing it jeopardizes our financial goals. This concept also applies to pretty much every other aspect of our lives {i.e. losing weight, getting eight hours of sleep — the list goes on}, and that still doesn’t stop us from caving. When it comes to budgeting, however, Hoboken’s Fiscal Femme, Ashley Feinstein, is here to help us keep on track with any budget that comes our way. Keep reading to find out a money expert’s explanation as to why it’s so hard to stick to a budget {and offers great tips}.

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    Why It’s So Challenging 

    Below are a few reasons why many of us find it hard to adhere to a budget of any sort.

    We Think Buying Things Will Make Us Happier

    Buying food, clothes, or the latest technology may make us happier in the moment, but then we just want something bigger and better. It’s hard to feel satisfied. And it’s no wonder. We’re sold that message all day every day from ads, commercials, and even the people around us.

    Bad Choices Are Habits

    These self-sabotaging financial decisions can be made out of habit. We’re used to not having any money and building up debt. It can be our norm.

    It’s How We Were Raised

    Habits often come from programming – informal or formal. What we heard growing up or what we saw those around us doing often influences what we do. So, if your parents spent everything they earned and had nothing left over to save, you might default to that too.

    See More: How To Talk Money With Your Honey {Hoboken’s Fiscal Femme Weighs In}

    We Are Trying to Impress Others

    Most of us splurge on occasion, but for many, “keeping up with the Joneses” has become a real obsession. Will Rogers said it best, “Too many people spend money they earned…to buy things they don’t want… to impress people that they don’t like.”

    We Seek Instant Gratification

     When immediate rewards are available, we tend to go for them {even if they are associated with delayed punishment}. If this weren’t true, “no one who knows they’re likely to get a hangover would drink excessively,” says Robert Epstein, a psychologist. He calls them “dark rewards.”

    How We Can Stick to A Budget

    Fear not, however, there is a silver lining — we can change.  It takes commitment to rewire and change our mindset, but we can learn to modify our behaviors when the payoff is high {think: owning a home, retirement, or that dream vacation}.

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    Here are some tips to help us stay on track when it comes to budgeting:

    • Open up an online savings account so savings are out of sight and out of mind.
    • Make saving and investing automatic. Set up an automatic transfer to your online savings account after each paycheck. Don’t be afraid to start small.
    • Make it easier to spend as planned by restricting your access to money and credit cards. Hide away credit cards or shred them. Only carry around as much cash as you want to spend that day.
    • Become aware of spending habits by keeping a money journal. Write down everything you spend in an actual journal or keep a list in notes on your phone.
    • Implement the “48-hour rule.” This is the practice of “not yet.” Anytime you want to purchase something outside of your regular spending, wait 48 hours before making the purchase to see if it’s still worth it to you.

    Do you find it hard to stick to a budget? Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!


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