If budgeting was easy, no one would be in debt and pay day loan companies would go out of business, so would credit counselling. The fact is our wants and our needs are constantly competing to win the spending behaviour battle. We may know at an intellectual level what we should be using our money for, but our hearts yearn for that new car, sofa or all inclusive trip to Mexico.

To coin Dr. Phil, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. This is the main reason why we don’t alter our spending habits readily to become frugal and practical consumers. Many of us have struggled with being unwilling to spend unless absolutely necessary. For many, managing a budget can be a daunting task. Keeping track of your spending, setting some aside for a rainy day, paying the mortgage and bills monthly is enough to raise your blood pressure!

Money problems can be challenging for many couples, especially when partners have opposite spending habits! Putting together a budget that works for both of you is a positive plan to help reduce stress and financial struggles. Create a realistic budget you can live with based on both of your spending habits. Stick to your weekly budget and be honest about how much each of you is spending with optional purchases.

It really is all about balance isn’t it? Optional spending is something that should be practiced with moderation and a definite plan to save for it beforehand or pay it off quickly if credit is used. The trick is to know your commitments, your priorities and your life goals before mindlessly embarking on a spending spree.