Debt can feel like insurmountable obstacle, but it doesn’t need to. There is relief from debt. You do have options. No matter how overwhelming it feels, keep that in mind.

Of course, if your debt is due to your spending habits, just looking for relief is not enough. You also have to change the way you think about money so that you do not get into debt again in the future. Here are a few budgeting tips that can help:

  • Keep track of everything you spend. Don’t ignore “little” purchases. Even those morning coffees add up. Track every single cent and account for it somewhere in your budget.
  • Understand that budgets change. You need to make adjustments over time. Set it up for the first month. If it doesn’t work, feel free to tinker with it until it does.
  • Set up a miscellaneous category. You do want to budget for every dollar you make, but that does not mean you know every expense in advance. Having a category like this gives you some flexibility for when things come up.
  • Plan ahead for abnormal expenses. Save up in advance. For instance, you do not need to have a “Christmas presents” category every month, but you do need one for November and December. Plan in advance and put money aside so that you’re not suddenly stuck without any means of financing necessary and predictable seasonal expenses.
  • Differentiate between what you want and what you need. Start your budget with what you need, and focus on the expenses you can’t avoid.

As you make this budget, be sure you also look into bankruptcy and your other debt relief options.