How to stick to a budget in the new year


It’s the beginning of a new year, and you know what that means. A fresh start and time to get your finances in order. Is this the year you make a budget – and actually stick to it?! 

Staying within your budget is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Learn how to stick to a budget as you begin the new year to help you:

  • Reach a state of financial discipline and better manage your finances.
  • Save more than last year, making it easier for you to reach your financial goals.
  • Feel more comfortable with your finances and in control of your life.
  • Plan for unexpected expenses and give yourself a little extra breathing room.

So while it’s true that sticking to a budget can be tricky, with the right tools and information you won’t overspend this year. Just follow these basic steps.

Step 1 – Set realistic financial goals

One of the best ways to ensure you stick to a budget is to set realistic goals for yourself. Financial goal setting is so important, as it can help you avoid unnecessary spending and keep you from getting discouraged if you don’t hit your mark.

If you set a goal that’s too high, it will be difficult to reach. On the other hand, if you set one that’s too low, it won’t challenge you enough and may not be very helpful in keeping you motivated.

Instead, make sure your goals are realistic (but still ambitious) and attainable so you can feel good about achieving them. This will help keep your motivation high and prevent any feelings of frustration when things don’t go exactly as planned.

For example, instead of a lofty and unrealistic goal, such as becoming a billionaire, set a goal to invest more by putting surplus cash flow into an investment plan.

When you set realistic budget goals, you’re more likely to stick with them because you know they’re achievable.

Working with a financial planner is an excellent way to set realistic budget goals and overall financial goals for the new year. They can help you determine how much money you need in order to achieve your short- and long-term goals and help you set up a plan of action.

For example, say you’d like to save for a downpayment on a house. Your financial planner will help you figure out how much money you need and then set up a budget that will help you achieve that goal.

This makes it easier for others around you (like family members or co-workers) to support your efforts as well they’ll know exactly what needs to be done next, so everyone wins!

Step 2 – Keep a separate savings account

Keeping a separate savings account will go a long way in helping you stay within your budget. By doing this, you can put money aside for short-term goals or emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses.

You can also put money in this account for special occasions, such as birthdays, holidays or other events where you might want to spend more than usual.

If you have separate savings accounts, it’s much easier to see how much money you actually have left for the month. It’s also easier to track how much money you have saved in total and where that money is going.

And the best part? When you have a separate savings account, it’s easier to resist spending your savings when temptation strikes. It will help you control your spending and force you to stick to your budget.

Pro tip: Consider setting up an automatic transfer each month so that your money goes straight from your checking to your savings account.

Step 3 – Track your expenses

Sticking to a budget can be challenging, but it’s easier when you know where every dollar is going.

If you’re having trouble staying within your budget, one of the easiest ways to get back on track is to keep an eye on your spending. It might seem like a tedious task, but once you make it a habit, you’ll be glad that you did.

Start by making a list of all of your expenses, including:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Groceries
  • Clothes
  • Personal care and well-being
  • Entertainment and other fees.

You might be surprised at how much money goes toward things you didn’t even realise were costing you so much.

You can use an app like Moneysmart or Frollo, or just write down everything you spend for each day or week.

By tracking your spending habits, you’ll be able to see where your money goes without having to guess. And once you can see exactly where all those dollars are going, it will be much easier to cut back on unnecessary purchases without sacrificing quality or comfort.

Minimise your expenses

Step 4 – Automate budgeting tasks

It’s a good idea to have systems and processes in place to aid in your budgeting process. And it’s best practice to automate as many of your budgeting activities as possible.

One of the best ways to automate this process and ensure that you stay within your means is to use budgeting templates. They can help you get started with budgeting and keep things organised once you’ve got the hang of it. 

The table below lists three budgeting templates and some of their benefits.

Template Name



  • Enables you to set a payment schedule for each transaction (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly)
  • Allows you to change the currency according to your preference
  • Items can be customised

Online Tax Australia

  • Free downloadable budget planner template
  • Easy to use and follow
  • Can be altered

Money Matchmaker

  • Forecasts spending and suggests ways to lower it
  • It offers two levels of budgeting – simple and advanced options
  • Includes three bonus tools to help you calculate your savings, determine how much you need to save, and create a savings schedule

Once you’ve got your template set up, all you need to do is
enter the relevant information into each cell – for example, how much money goes into each account when you get paid, how much is spent on groceries every week and so on.

Once everything’s entered, check back regularly (daily or weekly) and make sure things are going according to plan.

If you don’t have time to track your finances, or if it’s hard to keep track of all the data involved in running a household, then automating your budgeting activities might be just what you need.

If you need help automating your budget – or if you’re just starting out and need some guidance – consider getting in touch with a professional financial adviser, like Poole Advisory.

Step 5 – Regularly review and revise your budget

It’s important to regularly review your budget and make necessary adjustments if needed. This means looking over the numbers every so often and making sure they’re still accurate and relevant.

For example, have a look at your bank statements each month and see if there are any areas where you could save or even make more money.

If there’s a change in your financial situation, like an increase in expenses or a loss of income, you should make adjustments accordingly.

Let Poole Advisory help you stick to your budget

The best way to stay on top of your budget is to know what you’re doing. Poole Advisory can help you stay on track with your budget and ensure that it works for you.

Poole Advisory is an experienced financial adviser that can help you understand how the numbers work and suggest ways to improve your cash flow management.

We’ll make sure that you’re on track with your financial goals, so you don’t have to worry about falling behind.

“I highly recommend Anthony. He advises us on all aspects of our financial management, retirement planning, SMSF, and investment strategies for growth.” – Naomi I

In short, as a financial planner and financial adviser, Poole Advisory believes in empowering people with the financial knowledge to make informed choices about their finances.

For more information on how Poole Advisory can help you stay on top of your budget and improve your overall financial situation, get in touch today or book an appointment.

Compliance Disclaimer:

This information contains general advice only, that is, advice which does not take into account your needs, objectives, or financial situation. You need to consider the appropriateness of that general advice in light of your personal circumstances before acting on the advice. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement for any product discussed before making a decision to acquire that product. You should obtain financial or credit advice that addresses your specific needs and situation before making investment or borrowing decisions. Taxation information is based on our interpretation of the relevant laws as at 1 July 2018. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this information, Prosperitas Partners Pty Ltd does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. The case studies are hypothetical, for illustration purposes only and are not based on actual returns

Poole Advisory Pty Ltd ABN 15 642 040 604 is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 001282603) of Prosperitas Partners Pty Ltd ABN 30 662 654 453 AFSL 544 917

Get in touch

Learn more

Related Articles

Learn more

Related Articles