Easy Ways to Stick to a Budget
Sticking to a budget is super important for everyone, no matter how much you're making or how much money you're trying to save... But it's often incredibly tricky.
Here are five easy ways to stick to a budget.
1. Use a Budgeting App
One of the easiest ways to stick to a budget is by using an app specifically designed to help you keep track of your finances and hit your saving goals. One such app is Cleo, an app that, per its own website, decisively "doesn't suck." Cleo connects to your bank and tracks your spending — and it uses a special AI integration that will literally call you out if you break your pledges.
Cleo will help you budget, save, build credit, and much more, and it comes with special quirks that will make saving a bit more fun — including a "swear jar" that helps you control your worst spending habits. A budgeting app can act like an old friend looking over your shoulder and giving you a little extra support as you try to stick to your financial goals, and Cleo is definitely the friendliest of budgeting apps around.
2. Be Realistic
You're not going to want to stick to your budget if you set it way too low — then every time you look at your budget you'll find yourself disappointed and sad, and it'll keep spiraling. When you set your budget, be realistic and make sure you also have categories for emergency expenses or splurges. It's not like you're never going to splurge on your item of choice (be it an expensive meal out or an impulse-bought outfit), so put that into your budget as well and figure out where else you can save or skimp in order to make room for those inevitable stretches.
3. Review Your Budget Regularly and Build Your Habits Over Time
No matter how you hack your budget, be sure that you make checking and reviewing it into a routine. Be sure you review your spending at least every two weeks, if not once a week, and give yourself time to grow. Like any other skill, budgeting takes practice, and you'll get better at it the more you do. You might even try to set a timer for once a week and give yourself fifteen minutes to go over your budget at that time.
It's important to start slow and build your budgeting muscle over time as well. If you're just getting started or have a history of failing to properly budget, start with one or two categories and go from there. Or challenge yourself to save on one area each week, and then add more goals as time passes.
4. Determine What You Want to Do With Savings
It's important to feel like all your budgeting work has a purpose. Finding your "why" and figuring out what you're budgeting and saving for can really motivate you to do better, and this makes giving up little expenses a lot easier. Figure out what exactly you want to accomplish with your budget, and also make sure your goals are achievable and possible.
Of course you'll need savings for an emergency fund, and maybe you need to save to pay off loans and retirement; be sure you have specific goals for these categories, and also it's never a bad idea to pick a few fun things to save for.
5. Automate Your Savings
Saving money is really hard, when all is said and done, so it might be easier for you to just automate your savings so all that cash doesn't suddenly appear in your bank account, giving you the illusion that you can buy whatever you want (until you're broke before the next payday). You might want to enroll in a 401(k) plan or schedule automatic transfers to a saving account. Just be sure that you're tracking how much you're saving, and once you've saved enough you can consider investing.
Of course, Cleo is probably the easiest way to implement all of these tips, since the app helps you do all this and more (with a fun and friendly twist), and it's free! (Or you can get the plus version for $5.99 a month, which gives you features like Cleo Cover, a form of overdraft protection, and Daily Cash, a cashback rewards program).
When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.
Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.
The aesthetics were undeniably luxe and historic. The campaign showcased the rarely-seen Basquiat painting Equals Pi (1982), which the brand acquired for the background's proximity to its distinctive Tiffany blue. Also notably historic is that Beyoncé was the first Black woman to wear the 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond.
Before Beyoncé, the only other stars to wear the yellow diamond were Mary Whitehouse, wife of American diplomat Edwin Sheldon Whitehouse, Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn, and singer Lady Gaga.
"Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the epitome of the modern love story …. Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate," said the press release accompanying the campaign.
The campaign, titled "About Love," is stunning and has both classic and contemporary references. The image of the couple posing in front of high art recalled the iconic stills from their "APESHIT" music video, for which they famously rented out the Louvre and posed in front of the Mona Lisa.
THE CARTERS - APESHIT (Official Video)www.youtube.com
Their "APESHIT" photo made a giant cultural impact for its juxtaposition of Western beauty and Blackness. Tiffany's campaign seemed to have similar goals — showcasing Beyoncé and Jay Z as the peak of luxury, this time juxtaposing the Basquiat and the Tiffany diamond.
As a Black couple, their appearance in such a luxury campaign was a big move for representation, but in a post 2020 landscape, there was an outcry of criticism.
Despite the aesthetic beauty of the image, the high capitalist undertones didn't sit right with some on the internet — largely younger demographics. Though this campaign was an effort by Tiffany's to appeal to younger audiences and make the brand feel more relevant, Twitter's verdict was clear: a blood diamond wasn't the way to go.
The diamond, which was mined in South Africa in 1877, comes from origins laden in the implications of colonialism. The practice of mining in South Africa at the time was exploitative and destructive, eschewing the livelihoods and safety of African miners and their communities for... what? Money? So Tiffany could try to sell us some dream of affluence using Black celebrities as to "Blackwash" the history behind their treasured piece?
The Washington Post also had some choice words, saying: "Its campaign does not celebrate Black liberation — it elevates a painful symbol of colonialism. It presents an ostentatious display of wealth as a sign of progress in an age when Black Americans possess just 4 percent of the United States's total household wealth. If Black success is defined by being paid to wear White people's large colonial diamonds, then we are truly still in the sunken place."
Alongside the campaign, Tiffany & Co have promised to donate $2 million to HBCUs to fund scholarships and internships. But this measly amount (considering the multi-billion dollar net worth behind LVMH) is not enough to cover up that, despite their performative efforts to promote "diversity," Tiffany's is entrenched in a colonial history that neither beauty nor Beyonce can make us ignore.
While Black representation has been increasing over the past few years, the question of how we are represented is starting to be considered with more nuance. And as we examine the structures of wealth and hierarchical values, many people are starting to ask whether these should be the standards we aspire to anymore.
Jay Z and Beyoncé have come under fire before for their promotion of Black Capitalist values — which the kids don't seem to want. Jay Z especially seems invested in the trappings of traditional (read: white) success and wealth. His cannabis line recently unveiled a campaign based on the work Slim Aarons — which was famously focused on "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" — and its unashamed opulence raised some eyebrows.
Images like this aren't as revolutionary as they once might have been since they reinforce the status quo and tell marginalized people to reach for the same luxuries and lifestyles deemed aspirational by the people who have oppressed them.
Anti-capitalist theory has been around as long as capitalism has, but younger generations are more likely to question the status quo — even when it comes packed with Basquiat and Beyoncé.
The conversation about the Tiffany campaign is indicative of how Gen Z thinks differently about money and what it means to them. They are less likely to be seduced by the luster of the aspirational, and more receptive to relatability.
This is why apps like Cleo have been on the rise. Cleo is a budgeting and personal finance app which makes money feel less inaccessible and makes engaging in personal finance relatable and easy.
No more does financial literacy seem restricted to the pretentious or the elite — we get it, finance bros; you love capitalism. With Cleo, understanding your money is something that can align users with their values.
And those values don't look like blood diamonds or corporate pandering.
- Sorry, Beyoncé, but Tiffany's blood diamonds aren't a girl's best friend - Washington Post
- The Black-white wealth gap left Black households more vulnerable — Brookings
- The Unashamed Opulence of Jay Z's Luxury Cannabis-Themed Slim Aarons Photoshoot — Popdust
- ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE DOING ATTRACTIVE THINGS IN ATTRACTIVE PLACES WITH SLIM AARONS — Elle Decor
Seemingly every day, TikTok excavates a new defining difference between Gen Z and millennials.
Officially, millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen Z includes anyone born between 1997 and 2012. Though the "Zillennials" born between '94 and 2000 straddle this divide, the commonly cited factors that distinguish the two include: relationship to technology, use of social media, and memories/experiences of key events like 9/11 and the 2008 recession.
On social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, more whimsical differences emerge. Social and cultural norms always shift with the times, and certain trends are sure signs of which group a person belongs to.
Popular examples — some of which have caused internet outcries and viral trends (who remembers the "Proud to Be a Millennial" song) — are Gen Z versus Millennial preferences for mom jeans over skinny jeans and middle parts over side parts.
But one thing that unites them: similar attitudes towards money.
Both came (or are coming) of age during various crises — for many millennials, the great recession was a formative experience on their lives and career trajectories, and many Gen Zers have had their emergent professional lives rocked by the pandemic.
Add to all this the crippling load of student loan debt that both carry and the threat of the climate crisis putting a question mark over the task of future planning, learning to manage money is notoriously tricky for both factions — but they're increasingly empowering themselves using the internet.
According to Kasasa* , both generations are turning to personalized, tailored banking services. No one ever taught them to balance a checkbook (literally … what even is that?), but they're empowering themselves with digital banking.
"Millennials … seek digital tools to help manage their debt and see their banks as transactional as opposed to relational," according to Kasasa, and Gen Z are into "learning about personal finance. They have a strong appetite for financial education and are opening savings accounts at younger ages than prior generations."
With an appetite to learn about and confront the abysmal financial foundations, they have been handed, digital banking tools are attractive to both Gen Z and Millennials — bonus points if they are easy to use with a no-nonsense interface.
According to their
website, Cleo is an app which integrates all your accounts and, like a really financially savvy and brutally honest friend, tells you what's going on in your wallet.
Cleo is like the coolest finance major you'll ever meet. You can text her all your questions about your spending, your habits, and your current balances, and she'll give it to you straight.
She'll also tell you when you're running low — like when you should probably skip that Starbucks stop so you'll have money left for the subway home — and keeps you on track of your goals.
Here are some of our favorite features of Cleo that make her universally likable:
1. It's like talking to a friend
Above anything, Cleo is accessible. Anyone can (and everyone should) talk to her about money to demystify their finances. Cleo answers questions in a super easy-to-understand vernacular and talks to you like a friend — the kind of friend who isn't afraid to roast you when you're being shortsighted.
2. Autosave makes saving easy
Budgeting doesn't have to be boring. Saving money should be fun. After all, you're stacking up cash to live an awesome life — whether it's a sick vacation you want to take and post all over Instagram or a house in your dream neighborhood — so shouldn't you be excited about it? Well, it can be hard to drum up any verve for putting your money away, but Cleo uses autosave so you don't see the money it's saving for you until you've reached your goals
3. She breaks it down super simply
The key to getting good with money is looking at the big picture. Cleo categorizes your spending into parts so you know how much is going where. And it doesn't have to be intimidating. Sometimes all you need is a calculator and Cleo.