Creating a budget can be a challenge, but staying on a budget can be even more so, but it does not have to be. Managing your money is like managing your health in that it is way harder to start repeatedly than it is to maintain, so once you get through that initial push of discomfort and find a way to make it part of your daily routine, it is not all that bad. Keep in mind too that your budget can flex as your money goals do. If your current needs and desires are centered around an emphasis on savings, below are a few ways that you can beef up that part of your budget without busting it.
Change Up How You View Savings
If you can allow yourself to view savings as an overall collection of the pieces of your personal finance puzzle that are not immediately disposable and meant for everyday use, that can make you realize that you are probably saving more than you think. Look beyond your traditional savings account and consider elements like your 401k, IRA accounts, and even your life insurance policy. These are all great examples of places your saved dollars are being allocated to build up your overall savings.
Viewing your life insurance policy as a savings account is more common than you think. The initial assumption is that someone would take out a policy so that in the event of their death their designated beneficiaries will be financially protected. This holds true, but you can also sell or cash out your life insurance policy to receive a lump sum of cash in cases of emergency or to use to financially protect yourself during times of illness. Someone who is terminal or chronically ill can sell their life insurance policy to a viatical settlement broker to supplement their care costs. Taking advantage of viatical settlements is an example of how your monthly contributions along the way can morph into a savings account for you to use down the road.
Avoid Unnecessary Spending on Credit
People have a range of opinions regarding credit cards, some people use them as a primary tool to build their net worth, others avoid them at all costs, and some are middle of the road and view them as simply a necessary evil. Regardless of where you stand, if you want to stay on budget while focusing on savings, avoid using credit cards to buy things that are outside your budget. Following some practical tips on how to budget your income will help highlight for you that credit can actually rob your savings in the form of interest.
There is nothing wrong with your credit card being your primary purchasing tool but just be advised that these dollars are not one for one. If you buy something today costing $50, by the time your next statement arrives, and interest is applied the total that you owe will assuredly exceed the original $50 price tag. Think about that, and where that extra money will come from when it comes time to pay your bill. If it is coming from your savings, you might want to reconsider some of your habits.
Making radical budget cuts to save more money is not a sustainable practice. If you are hoping to build better habits and create a lasting formula for your finances, have some patience. Even an additional $20 saved every month is helpful in some way. Celebrate the small victories and revisit your plan often. Decide what is working and what is not and allow yourself the option to adjust as you see fit. Financial stress can sneak its way into every area of your life so putting pressure on your budget by announcing a huge change or cut might negatively affect you elsewhere, and then circle back to your wallet.