How to Balance your Budget

By Jennifer Tucker
July 10th, 2023 | 3 Min. Read

A budget is a great tool to help you better track your spending and empower you to find financial freedom. When you’re in a good budget groove, you carefully track every dollar in and every dollar out. You regularly pull up your budgeting spreadsheet and critically assess your spending. When balancing your budget, you adjust to stay on track with your financial goals.

But we know the best-case scenario isn’t always the most realistic. Staying on top of your spending plan and keeping your budget balanced can be hard to do.

If you’ve slipped up with your spending plan and find yourself with a deficit, it’s possible to get back on track. Here are some tips to help you balance your budget:

Find ways to decrease your spending

The best way to balance your budget is to spend less. Think about your expenses and which are “wants” and which are “needs.” Prioritize the essential expenses and take steps to cut back on your discretionary spending. Here are some easy ways to spend less:

Shop store brands

Brand name isn’t always best. Check out store brands, which typically have barely noticeable quality differences and can be significantly less expensive.  

Review your subscription services

How many streaming services do you subscribe to? Can you cancel those you don’t use often and could probably do without?

Cancel an unused gym membership

If you can’t recall the last time you hit the gym, consider canceling your membership. You can switch to more affordable alternatives, like outdoor activities or in-home workouts.

Look for ways to increase your income

Increasing your income doesn’t have to mean taking on a second (or third) job. There are other options for earning money that you may have never considered. Here are a few ideas:

Sell your stuff

Is that air fryer just taking up space on your kitchen counter? Hold a garage sale or hop on eBay to sell some household goods you no longer need or use.

Get a side gig

Do you have a hobby that could turn into a small side business? If you’re a language lover, think about offering tutoring services. If you’re a crafter, consider selling your wares.

Expand your skills

Increasing your income isn’t all about earning quick cash. Think long-term and pursue additional training or education that could help you grow your career prospects or earn a promotion at work.

Keep accurate spending records

In order for your budget to work, it’s important to keep detailed records. Stay on top of your spending plan by accurately tracking your income and expenses and setting reminders to regularly review and make adjustments.

There are a lot of tools that can help you build and track your plan, and Marine Credit Union can help. Our free online calculators can help you: