4 tips to stick to your budget

A sure sign that your finances are in trouble is if you often find yourself with barely enough to get you through to payday. This is a deeply uncomfortable position to be in and won’t be doing your mood and health any good.

Want to hear the good news? You have the power to fix this if you have the willpower to regain control over your spending. Follow these tips if you’re looking for some inspiration to keep your spending on track.


Tip 1: Keep tabs on your spending

If you know what you’re spending your money on, then it’s easier to see where you’re over- or underspending.

One way to do this is to record and categorise every transaction. You can either start a list or spreadsheet where you write it all down, or you can pay only with your debit card or via digital channels.

The reason for using you card is that all these transactions are then recorded and available to review on your account statement. More than that, card swipes at tillpoints are free of charge, whereas cash withdrawals can attract fees.

Paying cash also has the disadvantage that it’s easier to lose track of what you bought and what it cost.


Another way to lower the chances of overspending is to plan before heading off to buy groceries


If you’re a Nedbank client, you can use the user-friendly MoneyTracker functionality on the Nedbank Money app.

This handy tool allows you to track your spending, create budgets and set financial goals with hardly any effort. Best of all, you can automate savings through the app, paying a set amount into your savings accounts as soon as you get paid every month – so it becomes one of the ‘essential expenses’ in your budget.

Tip 2: Set a weekly spend cap

Breaking up your monthly budget into weekly spending goals is a great way to stick to your budget more easily. A smaller, closer goal every week puts every purchasing decision into the context of: can I afford this? Will this blow my weekly budget?

And if you do blow your budget, that means that next week’s budget must be smaller if you hope to meet your monthly goal.

Being strict with yourself takes a lot of discipline, but you’ll thank yourself later when your financial stress levels drop.

Tip 3: Don’t go shopping without a list

Another way to lower the chances of overspending is to plan before heading off to buy groceries.

All you need is a list of what you need to buy, and how much it will cost. If you see that it’s going tip your budget into the red, then either delay buying certain items, or sacrifice some items the next time you go grocery shopping.

Buy only what is on the list. Buying anything else is sure to blow your budget, unless you give up buying other items of the same value.

Tip 4: Avoid temptation

You’re less inclined to spend money fruitlessly if you’re not tempted, or once you appreciate the benefits of not overspending.

So, if you’re prone to buying whatever you see because you believe you HAVE to have it, then avoid malls or online shopping sprees that might tempt you.

And unsubscribe from marketing emails from anyone advertising special deals that will be too appealing to resist. These include daily deal newsletters and online platforms. Their job is to get you to spend money at a time when this is exactly what you should be avoiding.

Until, of course, your budget is under control and you allocate certain spending in every month’s budget for ‘frivolous’ or ‘special deal’ spending. And why not? You deserve to spoil yourself if you’ve proven you can remain disciplined and stick to your budget.