6 Habits of Successful Budgeters

It’s natural to think that boosting your income is how you win with money. After all, a larger paycheck never hurts. But you don’t necessarily need to earn more to start winning. In fact, learning good budget habits will make you feel like you got a raise. Once you know how to handle your money, there’s no stopping you!

Here are six money habits that successful budgeters do.

1. They check their budget before making big purchases. Budgeters don’t spend for couches, cars or vacations at the drop of a hat. They check the budget to see if they can pay for things outright before splurging.

Put it into practice: Before you buy on a whim, look to see if you have enough money budgeted. If you don’t, shift some things around in your budget or make a savings plan. This helps you avoid those big monthly payments that come from buying on credit.

2. They carefully track their spending. Tracking expenses is just as important to an ace budgeter as creating a plan. They record their transactions consistently so their purchases don’t pile up.

Put it into practice: Before you go to bed each night, enter your transactions into your budget. It just takes a couple of minutes. Even better, you can connect your bank to your budget with EveryDollar Plus so your transactions are loaded into your budget for you. Then you just drag and drop them to the correct budget category. That takes even less time!

3. They look for deals. Smart budgeters keep their eyes open for quality items at good prices, whether it’s a discount on a gently used treadmill or a pre-owned car. They set a budget for an upcoming purchase and try to get the best deal for the price they pay.

Put it into practice: Be intentional about how much you save and don’t forget to reward yourself for grabbing a great deal. If you save $200 for an elliptical and find one for $150, take that extra money and splurge on new workout clothes.

4. They spend without feeling guilty. When you make a budget, you tell your money what to do. People who carefully budget take care of other areas first, such as giving and groceries, and then spend without wondering if they’ll have enough.

Put it into practice: You can spend without guilt by taking a few minutes to plan and prioritize for next month. It’s a lot more enjoyable to have a plan and say, “I’ll do this” than to look back and say, “I shouldn’t have done that!”

5. They communicate about spending. A married person talks to their spouse. A single person gets a trusted friend or family member to be their accountability partner.

Put it into practice: Find someone (your spouse, if you’re married) who can help you stick to the budget and talk you through any big purchases.

6. They do a check-in with their goals. Successful budgeters write down their long-term money objectives and look at them often to stay focused. Between their plan and their vision, they’ve got what it takes to buy a car without payments or get rid of the mortgage—and they know it.

Put it into practice: Take a day to think about what you want to accomplish in five or 10 years. Maybe it’s college for the kids. Or a paid-off house. Or a dream vacation every year. Write down that goal, remind yourself of it, and work to make it happen!

When you combine good habits with an easy-to-use budget, money becomes a lot more fun. Create your budget with EveryDollar in less than 10 minutes. Pretty soon, winning with money won’t just be a habit—it’ll be a way of life!