In a recent depressing survey by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, almost 50 percent of the 5,000 American participants said that their expenses cost at least half of their income, CNNMoney reported.
It's even worse for those aged between 18 and 25, as 54 percent of this age group have expenses accounting for more than half of their income.
The expenses mainly come from housing and transportation costs, or by having fluctuating incomes.
Budgeting clearly isn't easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It's like going on a crash diet, Ohio-based financial planner Jill Gianola told Time. Instead of setting drastic and unrealistic expectations, we should make little lifestyle changes to help us reach our long-term savings goals.
Below are some tips to help you adjust your spending habits and actually stick to a budget plan.
1. Track your spending
In order to know what to cut out of your spending, you'll need to actually know what you're spending money on. Do this for two weeks to two months to give you a picture of what you might be wasting money on.
2. Moderation is key
Remember that going cold turkey on something you enjoy isn't going to make you any happier. Instead of buying a latte every morning, maybe save it for just Mondays.
3. List it out
To avoid impulse buys online, in stores, and even at the grocery store, keep lists of the things you actually need to purchase.
4. End subscriptions
From those free trials that you forget to cancel to the Citi Bike membership you thought would change your life (but didn't), try a program like Trim, which tells you where you're spending on subscriptions — and cancels the ones you don't want.
5. Budget your nights out
Weekend nights can easily get away from you, and you end up waking up with a high bar tab and no recollection of how that happened. Budget your evenings out by allotting yourself a certain amount of cash and keeping your plastic for emergencies only. This also helps you from unnecessarily spending to reach bars' credit card minimums.
6. Collect your loose change
Change is easily overlooked, but it adds up. Every month, purge your wallet, bags and couch cushions of random loose change to add to your bank account.
7. Prioritize and map it out
According to bankruptcy expert Sen. Elizabeth Warren, we should spend 50 percent of our after-taxes income on necessities, like housing and insurance. Twenty percent should go into savings or toward paying off debt, and the last 30 percent can go to "wants." Don't forget to map out your long-term goals so you can save for that, too.
8. Download an app
Apps like Mint can help you track your spending and also notify you when you're getting awfully close to your budget — all at your fingertips.
Automate payments like bills and student loans, as well as putting aside some money for savings (think 401(k) contributions). This way you don't even have to think about it.
10. Don't be afraid to revise
It's totally fine if your first budget doesn't go as, well, budgeted, or if you aren't perfect at cutting out your Friday night Seamless orders. Budgets are meant to be revised until you find the one that works for you.
This will be you in no time: