Making a budget is the easy part. Following it is a completely different story. Keeping to your financial plan is a test of your self-restraint, and one that you don’t always win. If you’re worried you’ll mess up your latest budget, check in with these simple yet effective hacks to make your job easier.
- Fintech companies are your friend.
A growing number of alternative financial solutions are growing where finances and technology intersect. These fintech companies, many of them offering online services to the underbanked, are disrupting traditional ways you can budget, save, or even borrow money.
Money management apps like Mint can help you table a budget, then carry it in your pocket wherever you spend your money. It can send updates to your phone, letting you know how close you are to going over your budget in real time.
Direct banking platforms like Simple provide online banking without any fees. In direct contrast to traditional banks, they don’t have any brick-and-mortar locations, so their services are provided online. Similarly, direct lenders like MoneyKey offer a digital alternative to the typical borrowing experience. Their quick online installment loans are simpler and more convenient to secure than traditional personal loans.
These alternatives can help you keep a better budget, contribute more to savings, and borrow more responsibly, so keep fintech solutions in mind as you get your financial house in order.
- Allow yourself time.
Some of the worst financial faux-pas happen in the heat of the moment, when you don’t take the time to consider how they will affect your budget. Let’s say you’re out with friends, enjoying a night out at your local brew pub. They suggest ordering another round of apps and pitchers to prolong the night, and you agree because you’re having fun. It won’t last long once you realize you spent over $100 on a night out.
Or perhaps you’re at the mall, and your favorite stores has an amazing sale on their out-of-season stock for a limited time only. Sure, you’re saving 60 percent off each shirt you buy, but you’re still paying 40 percent for something you never budgeted to buy.
Though it’s easy to get swept up by the good times and even better sales, allow yourself a moment to think. Some financial experts suggest waiting for a full month to make a purchase, giving it 30 full days of careful thought. Other say just a single day is often all you need to recognize if a purchase is in or out of your budget.
- Stop Relying on Credit Cards
There are some rare moments when a credit card is a responsible financial tool. Most often, it provides a way for people to overspend recklessly on things they don’t need. Abusing a credit card is tempting even for the most financially stalwart. It amounts to thousands of dollars at your disposal, even if you technically don’t have a single dollar in your bank account.
There’s no such thing as a free money, so you’ve have to repay every dollar you spend — plus interest and any late fees should you forget to pay the minimum balance. Cut them up. Instead, rely on money you actually have. Whether it’s through digital cash or paper money, you can’t spend more than what you actually have.
Cutting up your credit cards won’t leave you without support. If you take advantage of fintech companies, you can find backup online. Hopefully you won’t need to as you keep to your budget and allow yourself the time to say no.