Now you've got a plan in place, it's time to stick to it as much as possible. Budgets are often started, put on the shelf and forgotten.
Give yourself the best chance of success, print out your budget and stick it to the fridge or somewhere else you’ll see it regularly. Keep yourself accountable, better yet share your plan with someone else and ask them to help you stick to the plan.
Make it realistic
An unrealistic financial plan might look good on paper, but it’s is unlikely to last in the real world. A simple approach you could try is the 50-30-20 rule. With this approach 50% of your budget goes to you ‘Must Haves’, 30% to ‘Wants’ and 20% to ‘Savings and Debt’. Read more about it in our simple guide to doing a realistic budget that works.
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way if you need to. By reviewing your budget regularly and keeping your spending buckets up to date, you will have real control of your finances and can keep up with a sustainable plan.
Build in some flexibility
Expenses can vary from one month to the next, so it’s a good idea to build in some flexibility to allow for this. In months or weeks when you have a surplus in your budget, make sure to save it for other times when your expenses are higher than normal.
Some months are bound to have more expenses than others, or you might spend more than you should. It’s bound to happen sometimes! Just make sure you aren’t regularly relying on the flexibility of your budget to create unhealthy spending habits.
Have some fun
Just because you have a financial plan in place doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun as well! Try to include a few dollars in your budget, a small amount you can use for anything you like. Treating yourself occasionally can make it easier to stick to your budget in the long run.
Additionally, reaching financial goals will make you feel empowered to keep pushing forward so make sure to celebrate any milestones along the way. There are many free or low-cost ways to celebrate and keep you motivated. You can take advantage of perks like existing loyalty rewards, points or coupons to help make what you’ve been eyeing off fit into your budget. Or find free entertainment alternatives instead of more costly ones.
Setting yourself up for success
Overcoming financial difficulties may seem like a long road ahead but there are so many free and accessible services and resources to help along the way. The tips and tools outlined in this series can help you get back on track and develop habits that will help you achieve both your short and long-term financial goals.
If you find you are still having trouble getting control of your finances, there are plenty of resources to help you. The National Debt Helpline offers a free, independent and confidential service through their group of professional financial counsellors.
Are you a Pepper Money customer? If you're experiencing financial difficulty, please call us sooner rather than later. Contact us on 1300 650 931, or visit our Financial Assistance Hub to understand the options that may be available to you.
Don't forget to check out our other articles in Pepper’s Real Life Money Management Guide for some simple tips to manage your money and seek assistance in need.
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This article provides you with factual information only, and is not intended to imply any recommendation about any financial product(s) or constitute tax advice. If you require financial or tax advice you should consult a licensed financial or tax adviser. Neither Pepper nor its related bodies, nor their directors, employees or agents accept any responsibility for loss or liability which may arise from accessing or reliance on any of the information contained in this article. For information about whether a Pepper loan may be suitable for you, call Pepper on 13 73 77 or speak to an accredited Pepper Money broker.