I mention in the first post in this series how my husband and I started our marriage prioritizing certain things and that we both valued being financially secure, despite bringing in small incomes.
The whole first post is about finding the “why” behind your desire to better stick to your budget.
This post is about taking that “why” and putting it into action.
To be able to stick to your budget every month you have to use the motivation behind your budget to help you make the big budget decisions.
To explain what I mean, let me tell you about some of the big budget decisions my husband and I have made.
Not long after we were married, my husband’s car broke down. Or rather, it broke down further. In short, it was a very old car and fixing it would be more than it was worth. So we had a decision to make. Take money from our savings for a down payment and increase our monthly budget or go without a second car?
At this time (luckily) my husband was working only a few blocks away and we (unluckily) had pretty different work schedules. This meant that he could easily walk sometimes and other times I would be home and he could take my car. Because of our desire to keep a tight budget my husband was willing to walk to work and we did what we had to do to make having one car work.
Other big decisions that have had major impacts on our budget were our choice in apartment, our decision to not have cable, and our efforts to cook nearly every night.
We could have chosen a newer and larger apartment. We could have added cable to our internet package. We could choose to go out more. But we do not.
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We take our motivation behind creating a budget and desiring to stick to it into action. We make the tough choices to stay on budget.
You cannot save money, pay off debt, lower your budget, etc. if you do not put these goals first.
You cannot stick to a budget if you’re focused on having the newest phone. You cannot stick to a budget if you keep adding new monthly bills to it. You cannot stick to a budget if you try to keep up with the Joneses.
Many money saving articles talk about the small items you can cut that can add up quickly. Things like mowing your own lawn, skipping Starbucks, taking lunch to work, etc. And yes, these things do make a difference. But what will really change your financially situation are the big, tough to make decisions.
It can be hard to move to a smaller home. It can be hard to keep your older car instead of buying a new one.
It can be hard to say no to yourself when the pretty, shiny thing is in front of you. But you must! My tip in part one is important enough to repeat again: Keep reminders of your motivation around to remind yourself what your goals and reasons are.
When you are struggling to deprive yourself of budget busting things, big or small, keeping your eye on the prize is the best way to do so.
It will seem hard at first but the reward will be so worth it! Just remember your motivation. It will be so worth it to be financially stable. To be free of debt. To be able to quit your job and stay at home with your children.
Whatever your reason is, let that be the push you need to make the hard choices.
So what big budget decisions have you been avoiding or big budget cuts have you been unwilling to make? What can you do to bite the bullet and make the changes you know you need to do?
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