Maintaining Budget

You know you need a budget; you’ve heard it a million times. And in the past, you've tried it: income, expenses, categories and limits.

But maintaining a budget is the hard part.

Why is sticking to a budget so tricky? For most people, the hardest part of maintaining a budget is changing old habits and following through with commitments. In this post, we offer several tips that have helped our clients manage their budgets and reach their personal financial goals.

Carry Your Budget With You

A budget does you no good if you’re out with friends and you can’t remember how much you budgeted for dining out this month. Keep your numbers straight by keeping an updated budget with you wherever you go. Then, when you’re tempted to purchase a new pair of shoes, you can check and see if you still have funds in your clothing budget.

Apps can help you keep track of your budgeting on the go. Here are two of our favourites:


Pocketbook is a free budgeting planner & app that helps you track, budget and save in a simple way as it automatically organises and syncs your spending into categories, it’s easy to set up budgets for each category and you receive notifications so you can stay on top of your budget and bills.


MoneyBrilliant provides tools you need to stay on top of your finances so you can make better decisions. You can set your money priorities, simplify your banking, categorise your transactions, detect upcoming bills, and create budgets. Free accounts are available or if you want access to more features, it’s $9.90 per month.

Set a Weekly Review

It’s inevitable. You will have to be flexible with your budget to meet the demands of life’s unanticipated events. A car repair this week may require lower spending in another category next week.

Set up a weekly review to take care of adjustments like this. For example, on Sunday evenings, you could take some time to look at the past week’s income and expenses. You may find that you spent less than usual on food, so this coming week, you can stock up on pantry supplies if you come across a sale. On the other hand, you might need to take your lunch to work a couple of days to make up for overspending on Friday night.

By checking in weekly, you can make tweaks here and there while staying focused on your broader financial goals. Plus, you can start Monday morning with a plan and peace of mind.

Plan Ahead

Some expenses occur rarely. Holidays, birthdays, once-a-year insurance premiums and tuition payments can seem to pop up out of nowhere, wreaking havoc on your weekly or monthly budget.

To avoid stress caused by unpleasant surprises, pull out your calendar and plan for rare expenses. If you know you want to spend $2,000 on your Christmas holiday, divide that sum by 12 and budget for a portion of it each month. When Christmas comes around, the money will be there, and it won’t impact your monthly or weekly budget at all.

Set Up a Rainy Day Fund

Some expenses come out of the blue, and if you don’t have a rainy day fund, your budget will suffer, possibly for months to come. You may not have budgeted for a new windshield, but that gravel truck in front of you didn’t pay any attention to your weekly income and expenses. Life happens.

One strategy for building a rainy day fund is to set up a savings account that you only use for emergencies. To make saving less painful (and more reliable), set up an automatic transfer from your transaction account to your savings account each month until your rainy day fund meets your level of comfort.

When you suddenly have to pay for travel to a loved one’s funeral, you’ll be glad you saved ahead of time.

Give Yourself a Month Head Start

For the best odds of success, give yourself a month to plan and prepare your budget. Start tracking your income and expenses, so you have a good idea of how you spend now. You might also use your head-start month to consider how you could economise to save money.

At the end of the month, set up your budget categories and prepare for launch. With an on-the-go app, weekly check-ups and a plan for future and unexpected expenditures, you’ll be ready to rock that budget.

Keep the Long View

When you start budgeting, it’s easy to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details. Close attention to categories and transactions can prevent you from paying attention to your long-term financial goals.

Meet with your financial adviser annually for a review. You’ll see the fruits of your labours and learn how to make the best use of your extra income. Your daily discipline will allow you to invest in your future and set loftier goals.