Here are some simple, low-tech strategies that you can use you when it comes to tracking your spending and sticking to your budget.
This simple budgeting method has been around for decades. A person uses envelopes to create spending categories. They then withdraw the cash they need for the month and place the budgeted amount for each category in a separate envelope. Not only will they know exactly how much they have to spend for each category for the remainder of the month, but they will also physically be able to see how much money they have left.
A small, pocket-size ledger can help you focus on your finances without relying totally on cash. The simple act of writing down purchases and amounts can force you to be more mindful of each purchase that you make. You can also enter the amount that you have to spend for the month in the top line of the ledger and then subtract after each purchase or expense so that you know exactly how much you have remaining for the month.
A spending success book
Another tool to use (either instead of a ledger or in addition to one) is a spending success book. You can physically write down the times that you saved money and how much you saved. This can serve as a motivational tool, and it can also help you target areas where you want to spend less. For example, you could enter a category and an amount that you want to save BEFORE you go shopping. Then, your goal while shopping could be to meet the saving amount for that particular item. “Save $1 on toothpaste” could be an example.
Perhaps you are busy during the day, and you do not want to write everything in a ledger or carry multiple envelopes of cash with you every time you go out. Another low-tech option for keeping track of spending is just to collect your receipts. You can use a spindle, envelope or zipper case to manage the paper whenever you make a purchase. Then, when you have time in the evening, you can enter amounts into a ledger or simply subtract the amounts from your monthly “allowance” for each given category.
Realize when to use the internet
People tend to overuse the internet and apps for personal finance tools and advice. However, sometimes, it is the best option. Take online personal loans as an example. These loans are only available online, and they have several distinct advantages. They are convenient, applicants do not usually have to submit to a complete credit check, and they can apply for as much or as little as they need without preset minimums and with maximums that are between $500-$1000.