Making it Stick

Page 9 of 12

Mom showing her daughter how to save money in a piggy bank

The easiest way to make your budget stick is with accountability. There are many ways a person can hold themselves accountable. Here are a few ideas based on the resources you can access:

With Family

A good way to get your family to support your monthly budget is to identify a family goal and a plan of action to reach that goal. Your family goal could be a trip, a video gaming system or a bigger TV; it doesn't matter as long as it's agreed upon by every family member.

Next, have each person share a way to cut back on monthly expenses in order to save for the family goal. Then, have each person share a way to make extra money to add to the savings. Whenever grumblings emerge-and they will-remind your family why you're keeping a tighter grip on the family's finances to reach the goal.

Consider making a poster, like this sample (PDF), showing the goal and the steps you've identified to reach it. Place this somewhere everyone can see it every day, like on the refrigerator, to keep your family on pace.

Many parents don't maintain a monthly budget because they feel bad telling their children "no." The earlier you involve your children in your family finances, the easier time they'll have making money decisions as an adult. It's OK to tell your children, "We can't afford it," if you honestly don't have the money to purchase an item. However, a better option is to tell your children, "We're choosing not to buy that item because we need money to buy groceries and put gas in mommy's car, and we don't have enough for both." See the difference? Help your children understand that when money is involved, choices have to be made.

Going Solo

Tell your family or friends about your new budget and ask them to help you stick with it. Consider making it a competition with someone else who's trying to follow a budget and see who can stick with it the longest.

If you don’t want to involve anyone else in your budgeting strategy, use an online goal-setting site like, which holds you accountable for your goals using your chosen financial penalty. Once you've created an account, getting started is simple. State the goal, determine who'll hold you accountable, make a schedule of checkups and choose a small fee you'll pay if you don't reach your goal.


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