How do you stay motivated with budgeting?

As above really. How do you stay motivated with budgeting long term. I tend to do it for about a month and then slip back to bad habits which is what I've been doing recently. I have pots for spending and saving but what else? A job for every pound? Write down all your spends? Both are things I don't do. What would you recommend to keep control?



  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,459 Forumite
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    edited 18 February at 8:24AM
    It will depend on whether you are spending both pots during the month or just not spending your budgeted amount on the stuff you need rather than the stuff you want.

    Also do you have a savings goal?

    I move all money at the beginning of the month. Pay the bills and then shift monies into 2 regular savers. I also transfer anything left as a balance on the last day before pay day into a normal savings account leaving me with my monthly salary minus all committed spend and planned  savings.

    That way I know what's in the account is what I have to play with for the month (for everything)

    I find having a savings goal makes it easier to commit. I.e. I want to move but until I have enough in the bank for fees, stamp duty and a buffer for new move expenses it's not even on the cards. 

    Have you joined any savings challenges?
  • Writing down everything I spent was the game changer for me many years ago.  At the end of the month, I could look back and see where my money was going.  I then realised just how much of it was going on things I didn't actually need and it made me think twice about buying things in future
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    edited 18 February at 11:19AM
    Why do you need motivation for budgeting?  Budgeting is for not spending more than you earn, living within your means - and IMO this doesn't need any motivation.
    Motivation is needed for saving in the first place.

  • Jami74
    Jami74 Posts: 1,013 Forumite
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    edited 18 February at 11:53AM
     and then slip back to bad habits 
    What bad habits do you slip back to? If there's things you find you keep spending on maybe find a way to manage them into your budget or downgrade them (find a cheaper alternative).

    To 'keep control' I plan next months money in advance. On the first of each month I move the required amount of money to the right places to cover all of the savings and outgoings. That way I know that all the bills get paid regardless of what else happens. Savings include pots for annual spends (such as Christmas and car tax/insurance etc). Every spend gets recorded on a spreadsheet, it's easy enough to reconcile from the banking apps. In the beginning I had no idea where my money went, I'd have tens or hundreds of pounds unaccounted for, now it's easy to see and tweak spending, for example if I notice one month I've spent a lot on take-outs/snacks etc then I plan better for the next month by making sure I've got lunch to take to work. I can afford an occasional purchased lunch but not everyday. 
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  • kimwp
    kimwp Posts: 1,747 Forumite
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    I think these things need clarifying -
    What is your personal definition of budgeting?
    What do you mean by bad habits?
    What budgeting things do you do when you are in good habits?

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  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,630 Forumite
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    edited 18 February at 12:47PM
    My motivation is because the budget helps with the nice extras.
    My budget already covers the long-term savings, the day-to-day spends, and money, put aside towards car, house maintenance and holidays.

    But I would like to have more holidays this year which the current budget doesn’t cover and I found myself having to turn down more expensive social activities that I would previously have been able to do. Which is a new experience for me. 

    So my motivation is to try and put more money aside to do the extra things I really want to do. It’s always going to be a balance between a reasonable quality of life week to week and the bigger ticket items, and that balance is different for different people.
     And it doesn’t have to be holidays or experiences – you might have a serious handbag habit that you want to fund.

    But really, it’s working out what you are  budgeting for, and why and what’s in it for you, for those of us who don’t have to watch every penny just to keep our heads above water. 

    I also write down everything that I’m spending, and I have a fixed amount every week for food, toiletries and the day-to-day stuff. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. 
    It’s too easy with a card just to shove it over the contactless and not think about what you’re spending - so you can either use cash to manage it, or have a card that’s got a separate online “pots” so you can see what is happening with each category. But someway of tracking it, which ever works for you, is really the best way to keep a grip of things.

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

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  • IvanOpinion
    IvanOpinion Posts: 22,170 Forumite
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    edited 18 February at 1:04PM
    Keep it simple. I see the young whippersnappers with their fancy apps spending half their days moving trivial amounts from one pot to another and breaking into a frenzy of excitement when their latest multi-coloured pie-chart tells them they can afford to buy another spiced latte with a double shot of whipped twiglets. :)

    Seriously though, to stay motivated do the minimum amount that gives you the data you really really need. For example, do you really need to know how much was spent in Tescos vs Asda vs Lidl, or is it enough to simply say you spent £x on groceries; do you really need to break that down into frozen food vs bakery vs deoderant. Do you need to know exactly how much you spent on each meal you ate out, or could you survive knowing your eating out cost you £x per month. Do you need to budget every holiday and trip out, or would it be enough to say  'This year we have £X for enjoyment'.

    Once you understand your spending patterns then you can set yourself budgets, refine your habits and break the expenditure down more - but you only need to do that if it adds something to the overall picture for you.
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  • I find the easiest way to keep to a budget is to organise your life so as not to need to budget.
  • Rob5342
    Rob5342 Posts: 1,444 Forumite
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    I find it very itself useful to have my weeks spending money separated in an area of its own. At the moment that's in my main Monzo balance with my bills money and money for other weeks in their own pots (the direct debts for bills come directly out of the bills pots) Before I found Monzo I did the same but with my weeks spending money in one current account and the money for bills and other weeks in a separate current account. Each week I go shopping and fill up the car with petrol, and I just have to make what's left last the week. It takes care of itself, I can just look in the app to see what's left without having toess around keeping all the receipts and recording them later. 
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