Creating a budget is easy, and it’s an essential first step towards reaching any goal, but actually sticking to a budget, that can be a challenge. On paper, your budget seems simple enough, but when you are faced with the temptations of life — whether it be a pricey lunch out with coworkers, a new must-have item or even anything else — your budget will be a whole lot harder to actually stick to. Luckily, Goal Plus is here to help. Not only does our free financial planning app have everything you need to reach your financial goals, but we’ve also come up with these expert tips to help you actually stick to your budget.

#1. Have a goal to work toward.

As we’ve mentioned, budgeting is a very important aspect of reaching your financial goal, but you don’t have to have a financial goal in order to make a budget. In fact, budgeting is a smart way for everyone to keep track of their finances. However, having a goal in mind will make it easier for you to actually stick with your budget, because it will make it so much easier to say no to those everyday temptations. Breaking up your long-term goal into smaller, easy-to-achieve, short-term goals is also smart. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that spending a little more here or there won’t really affect your long-term goal, but short-term goals — like limiting your grocery budget to a certain amount or challenging yourself to make due with what’s in your pantry every other week — can help to give you the motivation to keep working towards your long-term goal.

#2. Plan for the unexpected.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” And, when it comes to your financial goals and budget, it rings very true. There are so many things that could derail your budget and your financial goal, from illnesses and injuries to job loss and the need for household repairs or replacements. A key part of actually sticking to your budget is to plan for the unexpected. While you can’t plan for every possibility, you can set aside a little money to help cover the expenses.

#3. Use cash or separate accounts.

When you use your debit card for every purchase you make, it’s easy to overspend because you’re not really thinking about it. But, if you only have cash in your hand, you can only spend what you have, nothing more. A cash budget is one of the smartest things you can do when you’re trying to stick to a strict budget because it’s impossible to overspend when you’re using cash. If you don’t like the idea of using cash all the time, you could simply open a separate savings account and move whatever money you don’t want to spend into it. Just make sure that you keep a close eye on it so that you don’t have to deal with any overdraft fees.

We hope that these tips will help you stick to your budget and reach your financial goal. And, don’t forget to download the Goal Plus app. It has everything you need to help you reach any goal, no matter how small or how big it may be. Plus, it’s free!