Take Imperfect Action When Budgeting – There’s no such thing as “too small” when it comes to making a difference in your budget. Even the imperfect steps can make a difference!
Recently, I was listening to the Pro Blogger podcast by Darren Rowse and he was talking about “imperfect action.” He was saying how taking some small, not perfect steps is better than doing nothing at all. This made me think about all of the times that I’d given up on my budget before I’d even started because it wasn’t going to get me out of debt tomorrow, so it obviously just wasn’t worth it.
It’s exactly the opposite! Taking those little imperfect steps can get the wheels turning for something bigger. It might be the motivation that you need to get serious about savings or about getting out of debt. Maybe it’s just the eye-opening realization that you can control your money.
5 Steps to take imperfect action when budgeting:
1. Start using Digit
Digit is a service that automatically takes money out of your checking account and puts it into a savings account based on your daily account balance and your deposits history. If you’re like me and have trouble taking money out of your checking account just in case you need it, Digit is the way to go.
This is an incredibly passive imperfect actionable step. You do nothing, and it saves money for you. I’ve been using it for a month with just the basic settings that it comes with and I’ve saved more than $200 without even realizing it.
This is an imperfect action when budgeting because it requires little to no thought from you to save. This isn’t a shift in your mindset when it comes to spending, but you don’t have to be there yet in order to see the savings add up.
Related post: Save Money Automatically: An Honest Review of Digit
2. Do a spending freeze.
Spending freezes are my answer for almost all of life’s problems. Need more money fast? Spending freeze. Not enough money in the bank? Spending freeze. Christmas is coming soon? Spending freeze.
A spending freeze is a period of time (usually a week to a month) where you don’t spend a penny outside of bills. No groceries, no coffee, no dinner dates, nothin’. The allows you to save all of the money that you would have used for those expenses to put toward something important.
A spending freeze is temporary which makes it a great imperfect action when budgeting. The pain is temporary, but it can really help you reset your priorities and your spending.
Related post: Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Spending Freeze
3. Commit to buying used.
I’m a closet shopaholic. Really, I am. I could spend all day in Home Goods, Target, TJMaxx, Pottery Barn and anywhere else home decor is sold. It’s my weakness.
But recently, Facebook has this Marketplace button on their app that sends me notifications. I had no idea what it was for until I clicked on it and realized that it was basically Craigslist but on Facebook. From just that Marketplace alone, I could furnish my whole house without going to a store for much less.
I’m a HUGE fan of buying used for everything: cars, clothes, furniture, you name it and I buy it used. If you’re a shopaholic like me, commit to buying used instead of new. This is an imperfect action when budgeting because you’re still spending, but you’re going to cut your expenses by 75% or more just by buying used.
If you’re an online shopaholic, check out ThredUp. It’s thrift shopping online for designer items. You get the ease of online shopping with the price of thrift shopping combined. Literally the best of both worlds.
Related post: Money Saving Websites That Thrifty People Love
4. Get your grocery budget under control.
Yes, this is a lecture about starting meal planning! But don’t worry. I don’t want you scouring the internet looking for delicious recipes. I have a one-stop-shop answer for meal planning that does all of the hard work for you.
One of the biggest places that people overspend is with their food. Groceries are expensive! But add on top of a super expensive grocery bill going out to eat for dinner 3 times a week and then lunch every day, and you’re looking at a small fortune spent on food.
Related resource: Painless, delicious meal planning done for you.
5. Start saving.
Every single penny adds up. Don’t ever overlook building a savings account because you won’t be able to save $1,000 in a week. I don’t know anyone who can save that much so quickly!
It sounds a little silly to remind you of simple math, but every penny really does add up. So even if you can only commit to putting $5 into a savings account each week, that’s better than nothing! It’s a great way to start getting used to building up a savings account.
Related post: Money Saving Tips That Helped Us Save $21,972 Every Year!
You don’t need to be perfect in order to take steps in the right direction with your budget. All you need to do is take imperfect action when budgeting and that will start you moving in the right direction.
No matter how small the step is, the best thing to do is to start!
What is your biggest struggle in budgeting?
Hey Caroline! I love these tips! The big one for me was cutting back on groceries. Even with just two of us we were WAY overspending. It’s saved us hundreds each month… and now I’m using that money for a fun getaway for the two of us! (He has no idea, it’s a surprise :P)
I’ve never consciously tried a spending freeze… just done it without thinking about it. What’s your favourite part about it? It sounds stressful!