When you are just starting to organise your finances, it can be a little bit discouraging to create a budget and stick to it. This is because it takes a lot of effort to understand your numbers and to design a budget plan that works specifically for your needs. Once all that work is done, it can take time to see any results from your budgeting efforts. It takes time to save, invest and build your wealth. And of course from time to time you might just feel like making an impulsive purchase.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this way and needing some motivation to stay on track. I always say that results come from what you do consistently. Discipline and persistence are key to building a solid financial foundation. It’s okay to slip sometimes, as long as that doesn’t make you give up. As long as you stay consistent and follow your plan MOST of the time.
Here I share some strategies that will help you become motivated to budget (and stick to it):
Look at how far you’ve come
Even if you are just starting out, if you already have a budget you have come a long way. You have looked at your income and expenses, you know your goals and you have a plan to get there. It takes hard work to get started, so take a moment to appreciate all that.
If you have been budgeting for a while, make sure to stop and look at what you have already accomplished. Have you saved up for an emergency fund? Have you started to invest for financial independence? Have you been able to purchase something that you wouldn’t have without a budget? Appreciating how far you’ve come will give you motivation to continue with your journey.
If you haven’t quite got your budget figured out yet, make sure to check this post here to help you budget right.
Remember your life goals
Budgeting is a tool to help you prioritise and accomplish your goals. Without goals, there is little point in following a budget. What have you decided to spend your money on? And what have you decided NOT to spend your money on? Why? What are you saving money for? Why is this important to you? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you have a clear idea of what your budget needs to look like.
When you know your life goals, you realise that every dollar spent either brings you closer or takes you further away from them. Visualise your dreams and picture yourself achieving them. This can be very powerful in motivating you to stay the course.
Know that baby steps will get you there
Knowing your goals will help you keep the big picture in mind, but also remember that baby steps will get you there. They snowball over time. It might be hard now and you might not see any results yet, but success is accomplished by small actions done consistently day after day.
Maybe you are slowly building an emergency fund or maybe you have just started investing. It doesn’t matter what it is, look at what small actions you are taking today, and see them as part of a bigger mission. It’s also very helpful to create timelines and graphs to visualise where you’re at and how well you’re making your way towards your goals.
Have your play money
I wouldn’t recommend planning and saving money ONLY for long-term goals. Sure, you have goals and you want to make sure you get there. And you are right, they should be your priority. However, life is now. There are things that you want to do now with people that are here now. Enjoying life now is also important and should be planned for.
Having a little money aside for discretionary spending is healthy and fun. It doesn’t have to be much money, but it has to be money that is okay to spend, and money accounted for. This is your planned unplanned budget. My advice is just to make sure that you are spending it efficiently on what matters to you and not wasting it.
I hope these strategies make sense to you. I certainly find these things helpful when I need a little motivation to stick to my budget. Let me know in the comments what strategies work for you 🙂