10 Budgeters Share Their Best Tips
Making and sticking to a budget is the key to taking control of your money. It’s the secret weapon that can transform your finances. Plus, it’s actually pretty fun and really easy!
Once you start budgeting, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start. But, if you’ve never budgeted before, getting it just right can take a little while. In fact, most people need about 90 days to perfect the process.
To get that I’m-the-boss-of-my-money feeling, you must be patient as you learn the ins and outs of budgeting. It’s like riding a bike. No one’s an expert at first. But if you stick with it, you’ll become an ace!
To help you power through the learning phase, here’s some of the best and most encouraging advice for new budgeters, from EveryDollar users just like you!
Tips From Budgeters
1. Trying is better than not doing at all.
Try. Some people get so overwhelmed getting started that they don’t bother. I found it rough to start but very rewarding once we stuck to it!
— Abbey S.
2. It gets easier.
The first few months will be rocky and frustrating, and you will overspend. But keep doing it; it gets better. After budgeting for more than a year, I started having money left over. That’s an awesome feeling.
— Jen S.
3. Budget for the unexpected.
My husband and I learned we needed a “Miscellaneous” category in our budget. My daughter was invited to the zoo, and we didn’t know which category to pull from. Now, each month we budget a little money for those odd purchases.
— Telma L.
4. Be flexible.
Flexibility is the greatest part of EveryDollar. Need to add $100 to a category? Pull from another category. Don’t need $20 extra for clothes this month? Add that money to a different category. Your budget isn’t there to tell you how broke you are or what you can’t do. It allows you to control where your money goes.
— John C.
5. Teamwork keeps you focused.
Budget together! If you’re married, it should be both spouses. Singles should have an accountability partner. That means you have someone to remember all the things you forget to include!
— Joanna T.
6. Set aside some fun money.
Don’t forget to budget in fun money, whether it’s for date night, eating out, or shopping. If you don’t, you’re going to feel restricted (especially if you’re the free spirt).
— Kerry R.
7. Know your trouble spots.
Food is my weakness, so being diligent about making a plan so I didn’t have food “emergencies” was key. This applies to any category where you tend to overspend.
— Alexis F.
8. Create separate categories for big spending areas.
Break categories down as small as you can to stay on top of them. For example, I had “Pets” under “Lifestyle.” After making changes over the course of a year, I now have “Pets” as its own category with line items for a pet sitter, food and treats, veterinary care, and medicine. It makes planning for each line item easier and keeps me accountable for where the spending really is!
— Jennifer M.
9. Keep a running list of upcoming expenses.
I keep an ongoing list of special things coming up over the next few months. This helps when we are working on the budget, because I have the extras for that month already top of mind.
— Allison G.
10. Give yourself time to plan each month.
Set a reminder in your calendar for the 25th of each month. That gives you at least five days to sit down and do the next month’s budget.
— Cassie O.
You're not alone!
If you’re nervous to make your first budget or are having a tough time getting through the first few months, hopefully these tips from real-life budgeters have inspired you. You’re not alone in the journey!
Remember, once you’ve got a few monthly budgets under your belt, budgeting will seem easy to you. Trust us, you’ll love that feeling—almost as much as you’ll love taking control of your money!