You can take the pain out of budgeting and saving money if you learn to make it a lifelong habit. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t taken the bull by the horns just yet, or if you let fear make you think it’s impossible. You can take small steps to build your confidence over time, and save more money, no matter your income. Treat your budget as a tool to get an accurate look at your spending habits and understand the best financial decisions to make.

Map out your income and outcome

Budgets are helpful because they allow you a closer look at where your money is going every month. On a recurring basis, you know that you have to pay off certain expenses that most likely won’t change much. You also realize that you have a set amount of income to work with, even if you have a side hustle.

Prioritize taking an honest look at your behavior to figure out your habits with money. Write down fixed expenses, necessary goods and services, and money that you spend on recreation or a whim.

Make a money move for savings

After you congratulate yourself for writing out a budget and analyzing your spending, it’s time to set up a savings goal for yourself. Start by putting away a minimum of 10% of your income before you divvy up the rest of your money for the month. Paying yourself forward helps take the sting or struggle out of saving your money.

When you realize that a set minimum of your income will be set aside for a rainy day or retirement goals, you will have a heightened sense about your money and habits. Saving 10% still leaves you more than enough to pay off recurring expenses, and have some money for a little fun.

Remember to adapt and adjust

Life happens, so making budgeting and saving money a habit can help cushion your fall when there are unexpected events. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and give yourself time to rethink your relationship with money

If you make more income over time, you can adjust the amount of money you save every month. If there are expenses that aren’t necessary that you can trim from your budget, consider doing so. Over time, you will make gradual progress to control your finances and balance your life.