Constantly keeping track of your expenses and purchases is nothing short of tedious and exhausting at times, which is why many people hate budgeting.
That being said, how many times have you heard that the key to financial success and achieving your financial goals is creating a budget and sticking to it?
Budgets are like a lot of things in life, not always fun, but a necessity nonetheless.
More often than not, the reason we find our budget so hard to stick to is simply because we give ourselves such hard guidelines. Furthermore, like a diet, staying within your budget is especially difficult if you never reward yourself. Still, if you find yourself struggling to maintain your budget, there are steps you can take to make it more manageable.
Here are some simple tips to help you budget even if you hate it.
Simplify Your Categories
When you initially created your budget, you likely created an array of categories as well. In fact, many budget templates force you to break your income down into a multitude of main and subcategories. Although it might appear as though having a category for every expense makes your life easier, it can often times turn the task of sticking to your budget into a tedious and almost stressful chore.
It causes you to constantly keep track of every tiny expense. This may be helpful for some. But, for others, it only serves to frustrate others and lead them to stray from their budget. Instead, simplify your categories into a select few, important ones. Use categories like savings, bills, food, gas, and entertainment to start. By starting simple you allow yourself time to get used to your budget and give yourself room to add more later if you need.
Make Saving Easy
When there’s an array of items you’d love to buy or a concert you’d love to go to, putting money into your savings can seem exceptionally hard. As humans, we can’t help but want instant gratification from purchasing items we want in the moment. Unfortunately, if it prevents you from saving, it might seem fine now, but will be a habit you regret far later in life.
Instead of forcing yourself to take your savings out manually, opt for an automated savings withdrawal. Not only will it keep you from spending your savings frivolously, but it will also give you one less category within your budget to worry about or keep track of.Even if you hate budgeting, it's important for your financial health. Click To Tweet
Utilize a Tracking Tool
If keeping track of your budget and expenses manually seems impossible, there are thankfully programs out there that can do it for you. Tools and apps like Mint.com or Personal Capital help you keep track and stick to your set budget.
These tools merely pull data from your credit cards and tracks it along with your set categories. It then provides you with the date in comparison to your budget, to show you your spending habits and where you can make adjustments. Moreover, with the multitude of apps available, you can even keep track on the go.
Save Some Fun Money & Utilize Envelopes
Time and time again, studies have shown that when you spend with credit cards, you’re much more likely to spend more than if you’d paid with cash. With credit cards, you don’t physically see what you’re spending or where. This gives you the illusion that you have more money available to you than you really do. Ergo, you likely blow your budget by spending more in one category than you should. One great way to combat this is to set aside an allotted amount for each category within your budget and place it in an appropriately labeled envelope.
Keep separate envelopes for items like food, rent, gas, and of course entertainment. The idea is that once you’ve used what’s within that envelope, you ultimately have no more money to spend for that category. If that’s the case and you’re forced to borrow from somewhere else, make a note so you can adjust accordingly the next month.
Keep Smaller Goals in Mind
Throughout our lives, there’s an array of items we’d love to purchase, but just aren’t’ within our budget. In turn, we often purchase smaller items that we don’t care as much about, that push us farther and farther from our wants and financial goals.
When you think of a budget category for savings or investing, you often think of long-term goals like retirement. Of course, as much as we know we need to save for retirement, it’s not exactly an exciting goal. That being said, saving and investing doesn’t have to be just for those long-term, financially responsible goals.
To give yourself motivation to stick to your budget, create a short-term goal that you can look forward to. Whether that’s a vacation, new wardrobe, car, or concert tickets, give yourself a goal to save for that gets you excited about saving. Once you have one category you’re excited to put money in, the rest will come easily.
Somewhere along the way, budgeting became an exhausting, dreaded chore. It’s become one more assignment and responsibility you force yourself to get to. We’ve ultimately forgotten that our budget is there to lead us to financial success. It’s there to help you achieve your financial goals throughout your lifetime.
Nonetheless, constantly having to keep track and analyze every purchase you make is in fact, tiresome. It’s no wonder having a budget can seem as though it sucks the fun out of life. However, you don’t have to have an extreme budget to have a successful budget.
Create your budget to fit you and your lifestyle. Create a system that’s simple enough that you don’t mind sticking to it. Follow a few of these easy steps and you might find, even if you hate budgeting, that it’s not only easy to follow a budget, but beneficial to your finances.
Do you hate budgeting? Do you stick to your budget every month? What tips and tricks have you found to make sticking to your budget easier?