Budgeting is an ever necessary evil if you have financial goals you are working toward.
Budgets themselves aren’t evil. In fact, they are very useful for things like paying off debt, saving money and more. Budgets can be anything and fit any need.
Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend money. In fact, if you are planning a vacation, you can use a budget to help save and estimate expenses for your trip. Budgets can be as comprehensive as you need.
As great as budgets are, it can be hard to find the energy and motivation to get excited about budgeting. Budgeting takes discipline. If you are struggling with dread about budgeting, here are some ways to combat those feelings.
If you really dislike budgets, start small. Write down your fixed expenses, like rent, utilities, and Netflix, and your fluctuating expenses, like groceries, house supplies, etc. Then write down how much income you bring in. Make sure your expenses don’t exceed your income. That’s it. That’s all you need to do. You don’t have to make budgeting complicated or use a fancy app or tool to help you. All you need is a pen and paper to get started with a simple budget.
Find a Template
Now the above is simple, but it isn’t great for long-term planning. If you want to work toward long-term financial goals, you need to find a budget template to help you plan for those expenses and goals. You can find free budget templates online from several financial gurus and even you favorite personal finance bloggers may have something you can download and use. You might find you have to tweak the template to work for you, but it’s a great place to start.
Hire a Financial Planner
If you really dread budgeting and can’t seem to stick with it on your own, you may need to hire a financial planner. They can sit down with you and help you plan your financial goals whether that’s planning for retirement, saving for college or buying a house. They can draft your budget and help keep you on track. But they won’t be there to help you make the day-to-day decisions. So sticking to your budget is still going to take effort on your part.
Take a Finance Class
If you want to budget and you don’t know where to start, consider taking a finance class. You may be able to find some online classes, or you could look for an in-person class in your hometown. These classes can help you meet other people who are in the same financial boat as you. Then you can help each other with financial accountability.
Keep a Visual Representation of Your Goals
You might have a budget and you might have tried to stick to it several times, but it’s just not working. One reason it might not be working is because you forget why you are budgeting in the first place. Try having your end goal visible somewhere as a reminder. This usually helps with the discipline part.
If your motivation is to travel, you could tape a picture of your travel destination on your bathroom mirror, or wrap it around your debit card so you are reminded about it every time you think about buying something not in your budget.
Another option is to draw or print a thermometer and color in your savings or debt payoff. Anything to keep you mindful of the money you are spending will help.
Get Your Family on Board
Share your financial goals with your family. Tell them if you need to cut back on dining out or giving Christmas presents this year because you are trying to pay down debt or save up for a large purchase. They will usually be understanding, and you might even give them the energy to follow their budget better too.
If you’re married, make sure your spouse is on board too. You can’t do it on your own, you’ll need their support for your budget to succeed.
Do you dread budgeting? How have your gotten over this feeling?
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