Staying on a budget can be difficult, but it seems especially difficult during the summer months. During this time many new expenses, such as paying for summer camp and vacation, pop up and can sometimes have a way of getting you off of your budget. However, there are several things that can be done to combat the temptation to stray.
First, try living on a cash budget. This will allow you to physically see the money leaving your pocket. It also means you won’t be able to rely on your credit or debit cards. In addition, living off of a cash budget will let you see the reality of your expenses, but it doesn’t mean you get to stop logging down your different costs. This means saving your receipts and another good and forgotten habit, balancing your checkbook.
Saving your receipts is an easy way for you to sit down at the end of the day and see if there were any mistakes or improvements made in your spending habits. This daily task also opens the door for conversation with a spouse about what they spent for the day and how they are doing with their personal and mutual financial goals. Remember, not enough conversations about finances are had and that budgeting is a responsibility that requires teamwork.
Balancing a checkbook seems to be a habit that many have lost, especially with the rise of online banking. Though it is good to be always checking your accounts online, sitting down and actually taking the time to do the math and check the numbers yourself lets you see what is coming in and going out of your accounts.
Furthermore, ask yourself if others in your household can participate. If you have older children in your home that have jobs, help them set up a budget as well. Assist them in making goals to reach, such as putting a certain amount of money in their savings account or toward their college fund. Children, no matter what age, follow your example and being involved will only drive the lesson home even more.
Last, prepare for the unexpected. It is never a bad idea to have money in your savings account specifically put aside for an emergency. Everyone can budget and save their receipts, but to be ready when you aren’t sure what might be coming your way is sensible and wise.
To learn more about being financially savvy and to see some surprising statistics, try taking this quiz. And if you have any summer budget tips, share them with other readers here!
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