3 tips for budget accountability

What is the reason we are unable to keep ourselves on track financially?  Most women I have spoken with say it has to do with accountability.

Here are 3 tips I have found for staying accountable when it comes to spending money.

  1. Impose a 24 hour rule – don’t make impulse purchases.  This is achieved by imposing a 24 hour rule when it comes to purchases that are over a certain amount.  For me that amount is $15.  If the item I want to purchase is more than $15 and I’m in Target I will simply put the item aside, add it to my wishlist on my Target app and then go about my shopping – only buying what I’ve already planned on helps to keep me on track.  I also limit myself to 3 items in the Target shopping section.  This helps me from going crazy.  When it comes to online purchases, I will often put items in my shopping cart but not purchase for at least 24 hours.  Sometimes I forget to go back and other times I will go back and clear the cart because I really don’t need the items.  But sometimes just the act of putting things in my cart and seeing the total makes me rethink whether I really need something or not.
  2. Have a budget meeting with your spouse or partner every week.  This doesn’t have to be a long meeting.  It can be as short or as long as you want it to be (although I suggest keeping these meetings to less than 30 minutes).  Having a weekly check in just to see where you are can help to keep you both on track.  If one of you spent more than budgeted for, you can adjust the numbers or talk it over and it will help you stay on track.
  3. Use an app.  One of the things I have started doing is keeping track of my own spending through apps like Mint or Every Dollar.  But I also use the Starbucks app to keep track of my coffee budget.  By preloading amounts onto gift cards or apps, I keep my spending in check.  I don’t have to worry about going over budget because I stop spending once I’ve used the funds up or gotten close to my limits and I have less chance of going spend crazy.

When it comes to sticking to a budget, accountability can be hard.  Particularly if you’re single but putting a few tricks into place to keep yourself from overspending will help you to stay on track.  Make sure you review your budget throughout the month and set up a system that works for you and your family.  It can be very hard, especially in the beginning, to stick with it but with a bit of practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to get your spending under control and be on the same page as those around you.