Every time I start a new diet I have the same feeling. I am positive and motivated and certain on my success. When I go to the grocery store, I stock up on all the healthy foods in bulk to save money, and I cook at home and bring my lunch to work. It’s great, and I feel great knowing I am doing the right things for myself. Inevitably though, I get a busy streak at the job that causes me to work a few late nights in a row. When I can’t make it home for dinner, or skip lunch, and grab something quick, it isn’t long before I have fallen completely off my diet. Our budgets are the same way.
A budget is basically a diet for food, so when you manage your money within your regular spending, it becomes easy to stay on track. However, just like a diet, when one thing in your life starts to slip, the whole train could fall off the tracks. We have to think about ways to get back in the groove or keep from falling off, and thinking about the diet can be helpful for your wallet and your waistline.
The first thing to realize is that, when you set up a budget, it doesn’t just affect your bank account. I know that when I am on my diet, I have to change the way I shop for groceries, in order to have enough food in the house. I also have to change my schedule to wake up early enough to make breakfast and pack my lunch. Still, I have to get home early enough to cook a healthy dinner. The same is true for money management. It seems like the more we break from our routine, the more at risk we are of not having enough cash to cover our lifestyle.
It helps to create benchmarks so that I have check points. Instead of thinking of my diet as a long-term thing, I break it up into monthly sections. That way, each month I can be sure that I am on track. With our finances, it’s even easier because we are provided monthly statements that let us look at what we bought.
This is all about finding the right rhythm for the check-in, and then sticking to that rhythm. For some, once a month is too far apart so they set their check-in to weekly. It doesn’t matter how frequently really, just so that it gives you a chance to respond before you are too far off. If we can set up some warnings for ourselves, then it is clear when we are messing up. This is why I keep my jeans from college, in my regular wardrobe. I know that if I can’t fit into them, then it’s probably time I get back on my diet. What will your trick be?
For other ways to help keep your budget on track, read our blog post on setting up text and email alerts.
Occasionally, Logix will invite guest bloggers to post on assorted financial topics. These posts may or may not represent our views