Budgeting. Could there be a more humdrum topic? But! Keeping track of money can actually feel liberating and empowering. In partnership with the wonderful You Need a Budget, here are five simple tricks we use to feel good about finances…
You’re more than your number.
No matter what numbers are in your life — your credit score, student loans, mortgage, bank balance, etc. If you have debt, it doesn’t say anything about your worth as a PERSON. It can be so easy to get caught up in how your value relates to your numbers. But you are separate from your money. Your financial situation is flexible. (And you have the power to change it.)
Keep the larger goal in mind.
Whenever you feel a pang about not ordering the expensive entree at a restaurant or splurging on new jeans, think about your exciting larger goal, like paying off your student loans or putting a down payment on an apartment. It can help put things in perspective and keep you focused on the big picture. To that end, using an easy tool that helps you save toward your goals can be a game-changer.
Look away from the screen.
One way to help curb spending (or even just the temptation to browse) is to take a phone break. Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to see all the clothes, trips, accessories (not to mention targeted ads) and want those things. Taking a break helps you clear your head and take stock of what you already have.
Leave it in your cart.
When shopping online, leave your item in your cart for 24 hours and see if you still want it the next day. Often, with a little bit of space, we find we’re “over it” by then! Impulse averted. Another compelling reason for leaving things in your cart: sometimes, retailers will email a discount offer when items have been left in your cart overnight. So, if you DO decide you want to move ahead, you can save on the original price.
Think about the everyday.
Little things you do can really add up, so think about small changes you can make. Pack your work lunch. Skip the take-out coffee. Get books, magazines and movies from your neighborhood library. Make a big pot of soup on Sunday to last throughout the week. Walk instead of taking a cab. These may not feel like big differences, but after time, small changes make a huge impact.
One way to feel good about daily finances is with You Need a Budget. It’s simple and easy to set up — you just enter your regular expenses like your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries and transportation. There are fun categories, too, like “things I forgot to budget for.”
You Need a Budget teaches you that budgeting isn’t about restricting yourself, it’s about goal setting. Their award-winning method helps you “give each dollar a job,” meaning the money you have right now will automatically start helping you towards a better financial future. With charts to track your progress, it makes being in control of your money feel empowering. It’s also great for partners who are budgeting together, since it keeps all of your information in one place.
Our team uses it, and many Cup of Jo readers have raved about it in the comments. Says Kristina, “I LOVE YNAB. It helped me pay off credit card and student loan debt and save for house renovations that I did not think were possible. Their customer service is good, too… I could go on and on.” Zoe adds, “Since my husband and I got married, I would say using YNAB is the single best thing we’ve done for our marriage. It’s actually allowed us to spend more money on things we actually want and care about because we know the status of our finances each month! YNAB is the best budgeting app I’ve found and I would recommend it to everyone!”
If you don’t have a budget, now is always the perfect time to start. If you’d like to see what a difference You Need a Budget can make, you can try it for free for 34 days. Setting it up is quick and easy and feels so good once it’s in place! It’s truly life changing.
Do you have a budget? What tips would you add?