With as many as 80% of Americans in debt, it's obvious that the country as a whole is facing a budget crisis. You're determined to move out of that 80 percent. You've written a budget, and you're going to stick to it. Unfortunately, your budget keeps failing! Finding the motivation to stick to your budget can be a challenge, but you'll find that in the end, it's well worth the effort.
These motivational tips will help make it easier.
1. Construct a budget that you can live with
This doesn't just mean ensuring that all of your living expenses are covered. It means that you need to have leeway in your budget somewhere to treat yourself occasionally. Ideally, this should be money that isn't specifically allocated. Rather, it should be a certain amount per paycheck that you're able to spend as you like, whether it's on your favorite overpriced coffee drink, a movie night out with your spouse, or a purchase you've been dying to have.
2. Focus on your financial goals
Chances are you created a budget so that you'd be able to meet certain financial goals: getting all of your bills paid on time, getting out of debt, or building your savings account, for example. When your financial goals are clear, it's easier to confidently stick to your budget. If you're feeling weak or considering a splurge that is well outside your budget, take a look at your goals. See how far you've come, then remind yourself of how far you still have to go. Ideally, you should have measurable short-term financial goals that you can track easily in order to keep your focus on your new financial plans.
3. Define the difference between "wants" and "needs" in your own mind
Food is a necessity. Restaurant food isn't. You need to have professional clothing for work, but you don't have to splurge on a new outfit every month, especially if your clothing still fits and isn't looking worn. By clearly defining the difference in your own mind, you'll make it easier to walk away from impulse purchases that you don't really need.
4. Learn to wait at least twenty-four hours before making a major splurge purchase, especially one that is outside your budget
In the moment, it's extremely difficult to walk away from something you really want: a video game that you've been waiting on for months, the perfect pair of shoes to go with your favorite outfit, or the latest time-saving kitchen gadget, for example. Once you walk away and think about your purchase, however, you may discover that it's not worth using your hard-earned money for it after all. Not only that, the need to go back and make the purchase later will decrease the odds that you'll decide to splurge--especially if you forget all about it the moment you leave the store.
5. Look for creative ways to save more, freeing up more room in your budget for other things
Looking for cheap auto insurance online is one great way to decrease your spending on an essential item. You might decide in favor of stretching your entertainment budget by renting the latest must-see movie after it comes out instead of seeing it in the theater or buying the dvd. Check a book out from the library instead of buying a copy yourself. When you look for creative ways to stretch your budget, it helps make budgeting part of your daily life instead of something that you're forced into when money starts to run short. Not only that, every gain is an opportunity to meet your financial goals faster.
Sticking to a budget is hard, but it's also well worth the effort. As you construct a more solid habit of sticking with your budget, you'll find that it's easier to stay motivated. It's time to make changes that will transform your financial future--and this time, you're going to stick with them.