5 Tips to Budget Planning if You're Unorganized

Budget planning can be a tough discipline to learn if you have not previously made it part of your life. Budgeting requires attention to detail; this is rarely a strength for a person who is unorganized. However, the benefits of a budget are worth the extra effort to learn the practice. Try these tips to get started.

#1 Streamline with Technology

Today, there are a number of software programs that can help you keep track of your money. Many banks offer simplified online budgeting that is connected directly with your account. Even if the assistance costs an extra $5 to $10 a month, the expense is likely to make up for itself in the money you will save from budgeting. Look into different software options that will help streamline the process so you need to do less on your own.

#2 Keep Track of Cash

Spending cash is the easiest way to lose track of your budget. You may start the day with $20 and end it with $2 without realizing where the money went. To put a stop to this, budget for a strict amount of cash you can spend each week. Even if you do not keep track of every dollar of where your cash ends up, at least you will have an upper limit on these expenses, stopping you from overspending.

#3 Carry a Receipt Wallet

Receipts are necessary for tax planning, budgeting and checking up on your bank accounts and credit cards. Instead of trashing receipts, start filing your receipts in a small wallet you carry with you. At the end of each week, dig through the wallet and separate the receipts into categories. You will begin to see patterns in your spending if you can total the amounts you spend on your day-to-day purchases through receipts. You can easily dispute a credit card claim or file a tax deduction if you know where your receipts are.

#4 Ask for Help

Budgeting is more effective with a buddy system. It is one thing to create a personal budget, but sticking to it is another. When you have an extra set of eyes to keep you accountable, you will be less likely to slip up or sneak in added expenses. Ask a spouse, friend or family member to help you stick to your budget each month. You will quickly realize you are more responsible with your money if you have to answer to another person.

#5 Use Non-Monetary Rewards

All of this work deserves a good reward. When you set budget goals, give yourself a reward for meeting them. For example, create a calendar for the money you would like to save each day or week in a given month. If you meet the goal, treat yourself by taking a day off work to relax with friends. Try to stay away from treating yourself with luxury expenses. If you can find rewards that do not cost money, you will begin to discover the pleasure of budgeting and saving for the long-term, instead of simply focusing on short-term financial goals.

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