We have a guest post from Lee Daley regarding budgeting. It has been a while since we have published an article on budgeting on our website. Lee provides some interesting tips and tricks to turn budgeting from a boring exercise to a fun one. Plus, he did it in a Top 5 list format. Our favorite. Hopefully you enjoy this article and find it beneficial. Feel free to add ways you are creative with a budget in the comment section!
If the idea of living on a budget sounds emotionally exhausting, don’t panic.
Plenty of people don’t consider budgeting to be the most fun they can have on a weekend. For many consumers, the concept of obsessing over numbers and watching the pennies can be quite overwhelming. However, the good news is that with a little creativity, you can make your budget less daunting, and more inspiring.
If you want more control over your finances, but you don’t want to bore yourself to death with your budgeting strategy in order to have more money, the following creative tips can help.
1. Make More Room for Fun
Budgeting is a serious thing. You need to make sure that you’re sticking to your restrictions and pursuing your goals. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have any fun with your cash. Yes, you need to make sure that you’re paying for essentials like utilities and rent. However, with a little bit of creativity, you can find extra room for fun too.
For instance, comparing your loan options online before you borrow money could mean that you spend less on interest each month. The extra cash that you save can go towards paying for the “wants” portion of your budget, which includes things like eating out with friends or having fun with trips and adventures on the weekends.
2. Always Reward your Accomplishments
Another way to make your budgeting experience as inspiring as possible is to reward your accomplishments. A lot of people hate budgeting because they feel as though it forces them to be overly restrictive with their money. However, if you give yourself small rewards for reaching your goals, you’ll begin to appreciate the progress you’re making.
Obviously, you won’t be able to treat yourself to a vacation every time you save $20 on your groceries. However, if you accomplish your target for a month, think about a cost-effective way that you can reward yourself, without damaging the progress that you’ve made. For instance, if you’ve reached the target of paying off 50% of your debt, you probably deserve a nice meal with your partner.
3. Choose a New Name for your Budget
One reason that people struggle with budgeting is that they’ve given the word “budget” negative connotations. They’ve gotten used to the idea that if they’re living by a “budget,” they’re restricting themselves to living something other than their ideal life. Something as simple as changing the name you give your budget can help to alter your thought processes.
For instance, calling your budget a “freedom plan” or a “wealth strategy” is a lot more motivational for some people. If you have a specific goal in mind, then you can even choose a name to suit that target. For instance, your “dream home plan” might be more exciting than a typical budget.
4. Make it More Attractive
Spreadsheets and pages of paper full of numbers aren’t very fun to look at. If you’re not a fan of math, you might even find yourself feeling overwhelmed, long before you’ve had time to dive down into the details of your new budget. With that in mind, look for fun ways to make your budgeting strategy more attractive.
For instance, can you download a budgeting app that helps to eliminate the spreadsheets completely and give you a fun overview of your money plan instead. Could you add pictures of your goal into your budgeting strategy to remind you of what you’re striving for. For instance, perhaps build your budget around pictures of your ideal house.
Even downloading some brightly-colored spreadsheet templates can be enough to change your perspective completely.
5. Simplify your Budget
Finally, getting creative with your budget doesn’t need to mean making it too complicated. Too much detail in your budget can be overwhelming at the best of times. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to keep things as simple as possible.
Create a schedule for when you’re going to focus on “budgeting stuff” and stick to it. During that day, make sure that you give yourself something to look forward to as well, such as a movie night when you’re finished planning.
To make your life easier, ensure that your partner and family are involved in the budgeting process with you. That will mean that all the weight of your financial freedom isn’t just on your shoulders. As you progress, make your budget as predictable as possible, only making changes when it’s absolutely necessary.
When your budget is simple, you can get back to the things you really enjoy doing in life a lot faster.