A perfect budget that is effective, easy to implement, and doesn’t cramp your style can often seem elusive. But there are ways to increase your changes of budgeting success. Here are ten tips:

  1. Identify Priorities. After you have covered the essentials, which items are most important to you? Are you interested in going on vacation, purchasing a new car, retiring early? Be sure to identify what motivates you and then plan accordingly.
  2. Make it a Date. Having regular budgeting meetings will help keep all parties involved with the budget on the same page. Be sure to reassess your shared priorities monthly so that the budget evolves as you do.
  3. Focus on the Present. What is your current cash-flow situation? Don’t worry about income coming in down the road. What do you have in your possession right now? Then focus on what you need those dollars to do.
  4. What Do You Need, Right Now? Make sure you focus on the important things first, such as rent, gas, and food. Once you’ve covered the essentials that can’t wait, next focus on the things you need next.
  5. Got Irregular Expenses? Just because an expense is irregular doesn’t mean it’s unpredictable. Over time, certain expenses are inevitable and it’s important to plan for them. Set aside a little each month so you are prepared when the time comes.
  6. Destroy Debt. Budget to pay the minimum required for each debt you have, then put a little more towards your smallest debt until that one is paid off. Then continue that process until all your debt is paid off.
  7. Don’t Forget Fun. Budgeting should increase the quality of your life, both short and long-term, so make sure you leave yourself a buffer to splurge a little. It will help you stick to your budget for the long haul.
  8. Track Spending. Instead of checking your bank balance, try analyzing each transaction as it occurs to see if it fits in with your budget.
  9. Be Flexible. Life is unpredictable and circumstances change. Don’t stress out if you overspend your budget. Just roll with the punches and adapt, moving money from one category to another.
  10. Watch Your Money Worries Dissolve. Once your budget starts gaining traction, your disposable income will increase, giving you more options and flexibility. The goal is to try to use this month’s money for next month’s bills.