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Overspending? Four Ways to Start Budgeting Right Now - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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Overspending? Four Ways to Start Budgeting Right Now

by Carol Wilson

There is no such thing as a perfect budgeter. Each and every one of us feels a shade of remorse when we go a little overboard on our personal spending budgets. It's okay if you let yourself slip here and there; we can all recover from a few financial stumbles. The most important thing, however, is that you don't turn your occasional splurges into a risky lifestyle habit.

I know firsthand how hard it can be to budget. After I graduated college, I struggled to make ends meet. I had buried myself in student loans and entered a field that paid very little. I cried every time I had to pay my bills at the end of each month, and I started to imagine myself living as a pauper for the rest of my life.

When I confessed my fears of drowning in debt to my mother, I remember her saying something that changed my life, as well as my views on money, "There is never an excuse for being in debt. You can make a penny and still save it." At the time, I thought she was rather naive. Yet as the years went by and I started making myself budget more often, I realized that she was actually right. There is always a way to stay on a budget if you fully commit yourself to the endeavor. For those of you looking to get back on track with your spending, here are four tips you can integrate into your spending right away to see some improvements.

Forgo All Luxuries

Oftentimes when we are struggling to stay within our budgetary limits, it's because we are spending too much on luxuries we shouldn't be wasting our money on. If you want to cut back on those pesky luxury expenses, try this: write out a list of all the necessities vs. luxuries in your life and compare them. Now, don't purchase anything on the luxuries list for at least four months. I'm not kidding. Not only will you notice more savings hitting your account, you'll also develop much more disciplined spending habits that will aid you in the years to come. So go ahead and let go of all those luxuries; they really weren't worth jeopardizing your financial future in the first place.

Pay with Cash

Debit cards and credit cards are wildly efficient, but they are easy to abuse. Whenever we swipe our card, we can't visually see the money leaving our account. By witnessing the cash leave our wallet, we will be better able to change the way we choose to spend our cash. So, instead of depositing a check into your account and spending money you can't see, pull out cash once a week and set a limit for how much you are allowed to spend day by day. By doing this, you'll be less likely to go overboard with your personal spending.

Log Your Expenses

Journals aren't just great tools to write down your feelings and emotions in. They can also be great for keeping track of how you spend your cash. When I first started keeping a spending journal, I was surprised to see how much money I was letting slip away from my account so frivolously. I'd buy gum, soda, movie tickets, hair products, nail polish, and numerous other ridiculous things without thinking twice. After I started keeping my receipts and writing these expenses down, I realized how much money was going to foolish items. If you're looking to cut back on expenses right away, keep your receipts and start logging them into a spending journal. Don't be surprised if you find yourself cringing from time to time about your spending habits, but don't worry; you'll eventually become a much more savvy spender.

Make Saving the Priority

It's never a good idea to spend all your money and leave nothing for savings. In fact, saving money should be a chief priority in your life. It will not only keep you financially stable in the present, but also it will help see you through to a strong financial future. If you haven't started cultivating a savings account, start right away. You'll take solace in the fact that you are deciding to be more financially savvy, and as the months go by, you'll see more money being built up for you to access in the future.

Budgeting isn't something most people enjoy to do, but it's an important habit to utilize in your life. If you discover that you need to start budgeting better, try out these four habits and see how much money you are able to save in the present and onwards to the future.

A small business owner herself, freelancer Carol Wilson believes that entrepreneurs and small business owners should know about the proper types of business insurance available to help their projects grow. She encourages your feedback at wilson.carol24@gmail.com.

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