Budgeting should not be a sacrifice. Many people fail on their budget because they do not keep a place for long term planning and spontaneity. Many things, such as entertainment and groceries, that people did not plan in their budget end by taking away a big part of their money. When you shop for groceries, keep the receipts and check on the items you bought. Make a list of everything that was necessary and add things bought on impulse, such as bakery and cookies, and indulgences purchases.
A good way to reduce your budget is to cut in half the cost of indulgences. If this week you spent £40 on weekend excursions, plan to spend only £20 next week. Before shopping, try to eat at home so that you will not spend for fast food or other impulse purchases. Make sure to establish a list of everything you need from home and once in the shops, start by paying the items on your list. Bring just the amount you need for these items. Make a list of an entire week and stick to it.
Entertainment can also be a pitfall for a budget. If you and your mate go to see a movie out very week, you will spend more money in entertainment and less in basics. You can decide to rent a movie two weeks in a month and go out the other two weeks. Renting a movie will save you money. Online servies such as Netflix can also reduce entertainment costs. With whole series and recent movies available to watch for as little as £5 a month, there is little need to spend extortionate amounts at the cinema.
In order to make your budget working, you need to allow for extras. You should allow for things like concert tickets, clothes, and other fun coming ahead. This does not mean that you should attend every concert or buy new clothes every week, but planning for these extras will allow you to have the basics things with you while enjoying some leisure. Depriving completely yourself from indulgences will not save you money. It can move you to abandon your budget completely because of lack of reward or frustration.
Budgeting does not mean punishment but harmony and balance to your finances. For a realistic budget, get an accurate knowledge of your expenses and incomes for the previous two or three months. Once you have this information, try to see the amount used for groceries for example during two months and divide the total by two for having the average amount you spent monthly for groceries. Do the same for each category of expense. Estimate also your monthly income and you can now plan your budget. Set realistic goals when you plan a budget including emergencies and unforeseen expenses.