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How to Create a Budget that Actually Works Without Feeling Too Constricted

budget finance / finance saving money

How to Not Hate Living on a Budget 101

Creating a budget is not difficult. However, creating a budget that actually works can be. How many times have you told yourself you’re going to stick to your budget, only to fail after a couple weeks, or months if you’re lucky.

The good news is the solution to your problem is quite simple. You need to figure out how to create a budget that works for you without making yourself miserable.

Here’s how:

1. Be Realistic With Your Budget

It’s extremely important to be realistic with your budget if you’ve failed at staying on a budget in the past.

For example, you may love the convenience of eating out on your lunch break instead of packing a lunch. But you also know that you spend upwards of $200 per month eating lunch out. ($10.00 lunch for 20+ week day lunches). You are aware that this is a luxury you could cut back on to save money each month, but you’ve tried to cut out bought lunches altogether and failed. By day 5 you are sick of packing your lunch and you fall back into the spiral of buying lunch everyday. What can you do to stay on budget, but also cut back on the spending cycle?

(I read this back to myself and realized I sound like I’ve created a story problem for you to answer… It’s the 3rd grade teacher in me lol)

But really, how can you stay on budget to save money without giving up altogether?

The simple answer is to be realistic.

Try allowing yourself one lunch out per week. It’s something you can look forward to, but you’ll still be reducing the expense of eating out every day. This could apply to essentially any variable expense category of your budget.

A fixed expense is a cost that is always set in stone each month, for example your rent or insurance. A variable expense is something that can change depending on your spending activity, for example food, transportation, clothing, etc. 

The beauty of a budget is you get to decide how much money you allow for each category based on your income. You obviously never want to spend more than you’re making, but you can allow for one category to have a bit more luxury if you tighten up on other categories.

2. Use Tools to Help You Budget Wisely

I have two fantastic tools that will help you create a budget that works for you.

The first tool:

My  budget binder.

The budget binder is perfect for keeping track of all expenses and income, and allows for you to edit each expense category to fit your needs. Check it out here and read in depth what the budget binder can do for you.

The second tool:

This arsenal of “saving money posts” I’ve written for you will help you learn how to slash money in categories of your budget so you can spend a little more in the areas that you desire.

Check out the posts here –

Save Money in All Areas of your Life With These Tips and Tricks:

Save Money on your Cell Phone Bill: 6 Simple Ways to Cut your Cell Phone Bill in Half

Save Money on Entertainment: 8 Ways to Have Fun when Living on a Budget

Save Money on Clothing: Create your own Capsule Wardrobe to Save Time and Money 

Save Money on Utilities: 9 Ways To Lower Your Utility Bill (And Keep it Low!)

Save Money on Groceries: Eat Healthy on a Budget with these 15 Proven Tips and 18 Cheapest Foods to Buy When Eating Healthy on a Budget and 15 Items You Should Always Buy in Bulk to Save Money

Save Money on Makeup: 13 Ways to Never Waste Money on Makeup Again

Save Money on Home Decor: How to Furnish and Decorate Your Home on a Tight Budget

Save Money on the Holidays: How to do Christmas Cheap Without Sacrificing Joy

My 20 Top Tips to Cut Costs in All Areas of your Life: Save Money Each Month with these 20 Simple Ideas

Figure Out What Categories You Can Cut Costs From and What Categories Are Most Important to You to Not Slash Completely

By using these tips and tricks to slash costs in all areas of your life, you can tailor your budget to fit your personal needs. You don’t have to stop spending money on date night for the next 5 years while you’re saving up for your house if you can cut costs in other areas. Instead of always doing a “free date night”, you could budget for one nice date night per month, and be creative with free date ideas for the other weekends.

Your budget all depends on how far you’re willing to go to save your desired amount. If you know you can cut costs in all your expense categories with no problem, then by all means go for it! However, if you’re anything like me, an extremely restrictive budget can feel almost impossible and it might be important to keep a few “luxuries” here and there to keep on track with your overall budget plan.

I hope this post was helpful for you and you’re inspired to make a budget that won’t over-restrict you from enjoying life, but will still help you achieve your goals. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on a “realistic budget”. Does this work better for you than cutting down to the bare-minimum cold turkey?

create a budget that works for you

Like this post? Do me a huge favor and Pin it on Pinterest using the image below 🙂 Thank you!

budget finance / finance saving money

Other Posts You Might Like:

Save Money Each Month with These 23 Easy Hacks

Create a Budget That Actually Works While Still Enjoying Life

How Much House Can I Actually Afford? 5 Steps to Knowing The Best Price For Your Budget


Resources That I Love:

Ibotta: Ibotta is an awesome cash back app that you can use on your smart phone to earn cash back rewards simply for shopping. It includes many popular stores such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, Fred Meyer, Thrive Market, and many more. When you download the app, use my referral code here to earn your first $10, and start inviting your friends to start earning huge bonuses!

Ebates: Ebates is phenomenal because you get high percentages of cash back just for shopping. Here’s how it works: When you want to shop, go to, search for the store you want to shop at, click the “shop now” button, and shop online as you would normally. Once you are ready to checkout, you’ll make your purchase, and a percentage of the purchase shows up in your Ebates account. For example, if Ebates is offering 10% cash back for shopping at Target and you buy something for $500, you’ll get $50 in cash back. Amazing right?! Use my link here to sign u for Ebates and start earning money simply for buying your everyday needs. BONUS: By using my link, you’ll earn $10 back when you spend $15.

TIP: Download the free and easy to use cash back button on so any time you go to an online website that offers cash back through Ebates, you can click the button to automatically get cash back from your order.

MyPoints:  MyPoints is a rewards program that gives you points for reading e-mails, shopping, taking surveys, doing web searches, and more. Once you earn a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for a gift card of your choice to over 75 merchants. They also offer free access to coupons to hundreds of different merchants daily. I’ve already earned a $25 AMC gift card and a $50 Amazon gift card in 2 months just by using Mypoints 5-10 minutes per day before I roll out of bed. Sign up and start earning here.     

Groupon: Groupon is a deal-of-the-day recommendation service for anything from restaurants to vacations to electronics. Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service. I use Groupon AT LEAST a few times a month if not more. I just had my oil changed at Jiffy Lube for $20 when it would’ve cost me $60 without the deal. Groupon has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. I never go anywhere without checking Groupon first. Use my link to save $10 on your next purchase with Groupon! 



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