Have you ever said to yourself, "What good does a budget do me, if I can't stick to it?" If so, you are not alone. Many people find that developing a written spending and savings plan is a lot easier than actually following it. One of the reasons is that you often make spending decisions while you are in a store or restaurant -- but your spending plan is back at home. Unless you have a photographic memory, you don't know that you have exceeded your clothing (or food, or entertainment, etc.) allowance until it is too late.
Click image to view larger image
The answer -- take your budget with you! By keeping a pocket budget guide in your wallet or purse, you can easily see your "bottom line" at any time. On the guide, you list the things that you typically spend money on when you are away from home, such as meals out, clothing, personal care, or entertainment. You also list the monthly amount you have budgeted for each category. As you make purchases, you record the amount in the correct category.
With the pocket budget guide you can easily see at any time how much is left in your budget in any category. You will be less tempted to buy the pretty sweater or the NASCAR sweatshirt if the balance left in your clothing category already reads $0.
A pocket budget guide also helps to control credit card spending. Because you are recording every purchase, even those paid by credit card, you will not be spending more money than your budget allows. If you stick to your plan, when you get the credit card bill the money will be in your account to pay for the things you purchased.
Years ago, I knew a couple who used this technique very successfully. A group of us often went to brunch after church on Sunday. When we asked this couple to go, they would refer to the list in their purse/wallet before making a decision. Sometimes they went with us; other times they didn't. But today this couple owns their own business and is raising three "money smart" children.
So, why not try using a pocket budget guide to manage your family's spending? You'll be glad you did!