To stick to a budget, you have to have one first (see the Goal “Set Up a Budget in High School”) Once you have a plan, there are several things you can do to get started and stick to it.
The following steps can help you stick to a budget:
Make a list of my needs and wants.
Take an hour or two to figure out your needs (necessities) and wants (luxuries). Then organize the list from most to least important. Ask a parent or another trusted adult if you need some help.
Warning: Don’t confuse wants with needs. For example, you may need a new pair of soccer shoes (if you play soccer, shoes are an essential expense), but that expensive pair with the fancy logo is a want. The basic, black shoes with the white stripes (for a fraction of the cost) will do.
Create a list of my goals.
Try putting a picture of the goal (fancy soccer shoes) on a mirror, inside a locker, or as the background on a cell phone. Set both long-term goals (bike, camera) and short-term goals (sweatshirt, earrings).
Record in a notebook all the money I spend for a week.
Write down every penny you spend. You will be amazed at how small purchases-a pack of gum, a magazine-add up to big spending.
Review my budget and make adjustments as needed.
Some months you may have extra income (birthday or holiday money) or extra expenses (back-to-school clothes, concert tickets). Adjust your numbers accordingly for unexpected expenses or income.
Remember: A budget isn't carved in stone. If you overspend in a particular category month after month, adjust the budget to make it more realistic.
Ask a friend for help managing my money.
If you've tried everything and you're still having trouble budgeting, ask a friend who's financially savvy for help. Some people are really good at organizing and keeping track of money. Ask one of them to show you their system.
Tip: Trade one of your talents (writing, jewelry making) for your friend's budgeting help.
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