5 Habits of Budget-Savvy People


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Have you ever wondered why some people are always broke while others seem to thrive, even on the exact same income? It's most likely because the ones who are thriving have developed these 5 good habits when it comes to money. If you are struggling to make ends meet, these might just be 5 habits you need to work on!

This is a guest post from Kalyn Brooke of

Have you ever wondered why some families constantly struggle to make ends meet, while others magically have all their finances together? Is it the way they were raised? Is it simply in how they do things?

Although these questions don’t always lend themselves to an easy answer, I honestly think it starts with the difference in our habits – both in what we’ve learned as young children, and how society impacts our current environment.

For me personally, I was taught at an early age to save my allowance, watch my spending, and make carefully calculated decisions to reach my dreams and goals. While some of that has to do with my overly-analytical personality, I am incredibly thankful that my parents taught me how to be smart with money, and instill in me the financial habits that make up so much of who I am today.


Tackle these habits one at a time to be on your way to being budget savvy. Simply opt-in below to have the Budget Savvy Cheat Sheet sent straight to your inbox!


But as the saying goes, more is caught than taught, which means absolutely anyone can adopt these same budget-savvy habits that are so critical to financial success. Although it’s not a magic formula that will change your current situation immediately, continued persistence and hard work will eventually pay off.

You’ll already be way ahead of game that so many refuse to play, and ready to make a lifelong change that matters!

Starbucks coffee is a staple we all love, but your budget doesn't! Cutting out a daily starbucks run can save you a ton of money.1. Control Your Spending

One of the first ways to turn your relationship with money around, is to watch what you’re spending on a day-to-day basis. Are you a shopaholic? An impulse buyer? A scouter of good deals that you just can’t pass up?

It can be really painful to pull out all those receipts you’d rather stuff in the trash, but realizing that your expenses are out of control is the very first step. Once you’ve owned that you have a problem, make a commitment to stop spending completely with Ruth’s 31 Days to Living Well and Spending Zero series, then track every single purchase from now on with an Expense Tracker.

When you develop the habit of knowing exactly where your money is going, you can put an immediate stop to money leaks, and stay out of the stores (or online websites!) that tempt you to pull out your wallet.

Make sure you're watching and sticking to your budget, it's a good habit to have when trying to save money.2. Maintain a Budget

Whenever I think of someone I admire, particularly in the way they handle their money, they almost always have a budget or spending plan in place. If you think a budget sounds restricting and boring, nothing could be further from the truth! In reality, a budget is actually motivating, freeing, and will help you reach future financial goals.

Before deciding how you will budget, remember that not any one software or system will fit everyone. Take whichever plan you want to try and tweak it to fit your family. And don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away. Test the vast market of free budgeting apps available, make your own Excel spreadsheets, or look into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I even have a Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting series on Creative Savings, which will help you create a simple budget from start to finish.

It’s also important to create a separate savings account, and especially to create an emergency fund of at least $1,000 to be prepared for the unexpected. Some companies, like brightpeak financial, will even reward you for learning to make a habit of saving! Download this free 10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Emergency FundeBook for more information on how you can earn $100 just for saving $1,000.

When you develop the habit of making a plan for each paycheck, you take control of your money instead of letting it control you.

Make sure both you and your spouse communicate about money regularly - don't shy away from it!3. Create Accountability

It’s never fun to make yourself accountable to someone. Just the thought of letting someone into my finances is enough to make me squeamish. I don’t want anyone to see where I’m spending, and then judge me for it!

But it’s not about judgement – it’s about giving permission to someone you trust completely, and allowing them to help guide you on the path to financial change. It can be a caring husband who gently takes your credit card away, or a wise friend who suggests you plan a walk in the park instead of your usual $20 lunch meet.

Accountability also takes form in the checkpoints you set up for yourself at home. By converting to an all cash system, you know exactly what you are allowed to spend, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. If you’re hesitant to use cash, keep yourself accountable in a specific area of your budget by keeping a small tally sheet nearby to make sure you don’t go over budget.

And lastly, use post-it notes! I not only love to use post-its as my daily to-do lists, I also put them in my wallet or on the fridge to remind me of a goal I’m saving toward. Accountability is a must if you want to develop the habit of consistency and continued progress.

Set a savings goal and find fun ways to motivate yourself to hit that goal. 4. Set Financial Goals

Speaking of financial goals, if you don’t have any right now, take some time with your spouse {or a friend if you’re single}, and write down some of the things you’d like to accomplish in the next 2-5 years. Think of it as a bucket list for your budget, and be sure to write down the date you’d like to reach each goal beside every item on your list.

Whether it’s paying off debt, saving for a much-needed home renovation, or starting an emergency fund, as long as it has to do with your money, make it a financial goal. However, it’s not enough to simply write down these goals, as tracking them continuously will keep you from getting discouraged and help you see monthly progress.

I like to print out a black and white thermometer template, write my goal on the top, then fill it in as we reach each mark. A lot of companies use this method for fundraising, but it works great for personal finances too!

Remember, if you don’t know where you’re going, then you can’t plan to get there. Develop the habit of goal setting and finally turn your dreams into reality.

Reward yourself for making your goals, but do so in a smart way! Little rewards are a good way to form GOOD habits. 5. Reward Yourself

Giving yourself a treat or a reward may not seem like it fits with this whole “developing good habits” kind of thing, but I’ve found that I’m even more discouraged if I don’t at least indulge a little after reaching my goals.

However, this doesn’t mean I go on a spending spree without a care in the world for the hard work I’ve put in the last few months. Instead, I build in a reward category right into my budget to fund these incentives. Done sparingly, these $15-$20 splurges can actually encourage you to keep going, and help you tackle yet another goal on your list. Just don’t get too crazy, and learn to develop the habit of restraint and grace!

A great way to reward yourself without guilt is by earning extra cash through a online program such as Inbox Dollars. You can get paid for things you do everyday, such as searching the web or shopping online, then use your earnings as your “fun money.”

While these 5 habits might sound really hard to start, let alone maintain, they will soon become second nature the more you practice. There’s no such thing as failure – just learning – so let that fuel your resolve to try your very best.

Pretty soon you’ll be able to pass on these budget savvy habits to your children, and show the next generation that we too can be responsible with our money and change our future.


Have you ever wondered why some people are always broke while others seem to thrive, even on the exact same income? It's most likely because the ones who are thriving have developed these 5 good habits when it comes to money. If you are struggling to make ends meet, these might just be 5 habits you need to work on!


Kalyn Brooke is a life management expert for busy women who crave a simpler and more organized life. Through her recognizable, down-to-earth approach, she provides a daily dose of inspiration and guidance, whether you’re looking for smart money tips, time saving routines, or anything in-between. When she’s not experimenting with ways to do even the most mundane tasks more efficiently, you can find her crafting detailed to-do lists in her bullet journal, or indulging in—yet another—personal development book. Meet Kalyn and learn how stay on top of it all at


  1. May 9 at 12:20PM

    In my own experience, I was not taught how to save or manage money and found myself in a tight place very early in my adult life. The caught part is true–with this strain I sought out and found mentors to teach me finance because I knew I had a large deficit in finacial literacy and understanding. I would suggest for anyone who struggles in finances to look for a person or people around you who are able to really manage their own finances well and learn (make them your accountability support as well if that works). If everyone around you is broke…look for classes in church or community that will help you “catch” the budget bug you need:)
    Spring Cleaning Life

  2. May 9 at 01:40PM

    Great summary of important steps! I haven’t been great about the first one, and the whole system breaks down without that. Now, I’m working to repay debt and live a more intentional life – financial and otherwise – and this framework is just what I’m using.

  3. These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing! Striking a balance between restraint and grace is so difficult, but it’s such a valuable (no pun intended) skill to have.

  4. I love the way you have summarized all the important steps. Its very interesting and useful. I think i’m lucky to find this out.

  5. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
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  6. December 9 at 08:20PM

    Thanks for these tips! Because of our own journey learning to save money in hard times that I also started Frugal Living Mom to help people find things that they could get for free and put “frugal strategies” into their everyday lives. Starting the journey towards saving and frugal living may be hard at first, but it’s sure is rewarding in the long run.

  7. Rebekah
    July 11 at 01:14PM

    I really appreciate your post- thank you. These are a lot of the steps my husband and I are applying. We have felt such financial freedom in a budget, because you live within your means, and know what you have to spend.

  8. September 7 at 10:03PM

    Several years ago my spreadsheet loving husband created a massive excel document that houses our budget. I don’t understand it, but I know that he started tracking every single dollar we spent (and still does) and it was the best thing he ever did for our finances. You can’t change what you don’t accept and when you see exactly how much that Starbucks habit really costs every month, it’s a game changer!

  9. Meyber
    February 11 at 01:20PM

    Thank you for the thermometer comment. Its more of a visual tracking device that will allow me to feel I have accomplished some debt. Thank you

  10. Cindy Stinson
    January 14 at 11:23AM

    I’m the worst at budgets. How can you have a budget, if you don’t have it to buget? That’s how I have lived all my life. Paycheck to paycheck and still don’t make it, by about a week. Our church has started a program to help single moms get on there feet. I’m the first contestant and failing miserably. New Year new start. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I feel like I can do it now. Your system isn’t as complicated and it shouldn’t be. And I have to be more aware of my spending and rein it in. Im the free spirit spender. Thank you again. I will succeed this time around!

  11. Lisa Chouinard
    February 27 at 06:23PM

    The cheat sheet link takes me to an expired offer page:

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