We're fans of using technology and planning to help manage your finances, but there's something to be said for keeping things simple. If you have trouble sticking to a budget, a minimalistic approach might help.
Australian money picture from Shutterstock
This article was originally posted 15 December 2014.
Listen Money Matters makes a good point for simplicity. When something is too complicated, it can be discouraging. Writer Candice Elliott explains:
Managing your finances can be similarly simple. Or it can be complicated with multiple charts, graphs, apps, programs and on and on….The more simple you keep it, the more likely you are to stick with it. It's fun in the beginning to fill in all your little numbers and keep track of all of your receipts but it gets old fast and you quit. Then you find yourself back at square one in a few months when you again, decide to stop ignoring the problem and tackle it.
I think Elliott's point also speaks to gimmicks versus a change in financial behaviour. It's the same psychology behind fad diets. They might work for a while, but what eventually proves to be healthy and effective is changing your lifestyle through the simple routine of nutrition and exercise.
If your finances seem too complicated, go back to the basics. Create a simple budget, organised by category, and tweak it every now and then. Of course, you can still use those budgeting tools and tips — the point is to just keep it simple.
And remember the basic truth for reaching financial goals: spend less than you earn. For more advice on how to avoid falling off the financial wagon, check out the full post.
So You Fell Off the Wagon [Listen Money Matters]