How to stick to your budget

Tuesday December 12 2017

Shoppers in one of the supermarkets in Kampala.

Shoppers in one of the supermarkets in Kampala. Some people spend money recklessly while others go against their budgets because they have seen what excites their eyes.Experts advise us never to spend money before we budget for it because our brains and hunger to shop will betray us at some point. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Annet Katusiime

The secret of changing our lives from current status is by knowing the value of what we have, plan for it and use it sparingly.
December is a month when most people are in the mood of merry making with their beloved ones because going through January to December is by the grace of God.
However, not everyone reading this article is in a merry making mood; maybe some have lost loved ones and others have lost their jobs or business opportunities.
Don’t give up. Believe in yourself that you can make a difference in your life and the community.

A budget is a financial plan for a defined period of time, usually a year. This plan includes approximate costs, revenues during a specific period and reflects future financial condition.
Let me share with you a few tips of how to discipline yourself to stay on track and stick to your budget.

Budget before you earn
Never spend money before you budget for it because your brain will betray you at some point.
Have you ever received a pay cheque and in a week you wonder where your money went? Well this happens mostly to people who don’t value the power of writing down their incomes and expenses.
But it’s never too late to start now and you will enjoy spending your money in a more meaningful way.

People have different needs and wants which vary from time to time. Therefore one has to prioritise the needs in order to avoid spending on unnecessary items which one can survive without.

Be realistic
Be mindful about your expenses. Learn to set realistic goals and always don’t bite more than you can chew.
For example if you have a goal of saving Shs10,000 per day your source of income should be able to raise profits of Shs25,000 and the balance of Shs15,000 will cater for the daily expenses.

Learn to negotiate
While shopping don’t be shy to ask for a little discount no matter how small it is. One by one makes a bundle. Negotiation can also help you add onto your savings because you don’t need a lot of money to start saving but you need to develop the culture.

Track your expenses daily
Create a portable expense book and keep it close or an app which will help you track how you spend your money. The expense book or app will guide you on what to spend on daily. If you make this a habit you will realise some items are not worth your pain.

Avoid impulse buying
Always be mindful of what is in your budget before you spend any money. It takes discipline to tame your desire to spend on unplanned items such as buying a good pair of shoes on your way home which wasn’t on your budget.

Review your budget regularly
Make spending decisions based on your budget and review it according to your income and expenditure patterns in order to include items that were not budgeted for in the initial budget by reducing some expenses respectively which might be deemed wants in the process.
Remember why you budgeted in the first place and configure your short and long term goals. Review your financial goals regularly.

Quote: It isn’t what you earn but how you spend it that fixes your class - Sinclair Lewis.

Ms Annet Katusiime is a certified trainer in financial literacy at Be Money Wiser Co. Ltd.