I’m nearing my thirtieth birthday and for the first time in my life I’m feeling like I can’t eat whatever I want. I’ve always been the type of person who can eat anything and never gain weight. My brothers have been exactly the same.
Only, over this past year I’ve gained about ten pounds and am coming to the realization that those eat-anything-and-as-much-as-you-want days are coming to an end. (Darn it!)
Over the past few months I’ve been much more mindful of what goes into my body. During this process I’ve realized that eating right requires the exact same steps that getting started on a budget does.
Here are the steps you should take to stick with a budget. (But that, ironically, work just as well when applied to other areas of your life, like losing weight.)
When I was first trying to change my eating habits nothing helped me more than tracking what I ate. I downloaded an app and would diligently type in every single thing that went into my mouth. And you know what? Tracking kept me accountable!
The same exact thing should be done when you’re first starting out on your financial journey.
Make a list of all of your debts, savings and other assets. Track your income and expenses and create a monthly budget. After you do all of this monitor your activity. Check on your accounts daily, use an app or piece of paper to track your spending and be very intentional in the way you use your money.
Stick with It During the Tough Times
When I first decided to cut refined sugar from my diet I felt horrible. I craved sugar so bad and had the headaches to go right along with those cravings.
I’ve even given in from time to time. When I do I have to pick myself back up and get back on track. It’s hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. (Bad pun intended!) But if I’m ever going to create healthy habits I’ve got to keep going when times get tough and when I fail.
You’ve got to do the same.
When you’re trying to budget or save money times will get tough and occasionally you’ll crack. Everybody does. Get back up and remind yourself what you’re working toward.
Go the Extra Mile When Needed
When it comes to losing weight sometimes the problem isn’t so much of what you’re eating but the fact that you’re not moving. It can take a two part solution: eat better and move more.
Sometimes in personal finances (and I’ve been there) it’s not always about budgeting. What happens when no matter how you budget and what you cut there’s still not enough money? You’ve got to do more.
Develop Solid Habits
I’ve long been to the point where tracking my spending or creating a written budget is not necessary. I have solid financial habits. It’s a given – I will absolutely, positively avoid all consumer debt, I save and invest each and every month and live within my means. This all comes natural to me and I no longer have to diligently track what I’m doing.
The same will happen to you. If you stick with something long enough and give it the attention it deserves it will become a habit. Before you know it, living within your means (or eating healthfully) will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it.
What steps have you taken to stick with a budget?