Written by Meaghan Brugha, Creator of Eva’s Financial Literacy Toolkit

This is the fourth post in a series that will use the advice from Eva’s Financial Literacy Kit to share tips on budgeting, spending, debt and credit. This post offers some sage advice on why a budget matters and tips on how you can create a budget that works for you.

I recently chatted with some friends about my budgeting workshop I created for the Eva’s Financial Literacy Toolkit. We went around the table and slowly they began to all admit that none of them had actually sat down and written out a budget.

“Well, there was one in my head, I guess” one said. “I never had to” another one insisted.

I was baffled! These were intelligent and responsible women and I seemed like the only one irritated by this assumption that we don’t all need to budget. We should all budget – not only the fiscally-stricken. Why waste money if you don’t need to? Those two friends had goals to reach and student debts that needed to be paid off, and they weren’t budgeting because their situations weren’t dire.

How we budget, of course, might differ from person to person, so you need to figure out your unique goals and what system works for you. One thing I do insist on is that you’re much likelier to follow your budget if you write it out and hang it somewhere you can see everyday to motivate yourself to follow it. Keeping it in your head is probably not a great idea. Sure, it’s better than having no budget at all, but your head also tends to tempt you with treats.

Meaghan’s 5 budgeting tips:

1) Use your bank to help you manage your money: Have automatic transactions moving from your chequing account into an e-savings account that you can only access online.

2) Don’t overestimate your income or purposely reduce your expenses on your budget – be truthful!

3) Don’t use next month’s income to balance this month’s budget, and don’t plan on borrowing money to balance your budget either! Be kinder to future you.

4) Write a list of possible barriers to sticking to your budget. Next to those barriers, write your solutions. Planning ahead and developing a strategy can really make the difference!

5) Try out a budgeting app on your phone! Check out this list of the best budgeting apps of 2015

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