Budgeting isn’t fun. We’ve been taught that over and over again. You have to do it. If you want to be successful, if you want to be happy, if you want to be relaxed, you have to budget. So, we settle down to our computer screen with our steaming cup of coffee, grit our teeth and start typing in numbers.
I thought the same thing when I was first taught how to budget. I was putting restrictions on my money, I didn’t want restrictions on my money. I wanted to spend it wherever and whenever I wanted to! Then I realized, budgeting doesn’t have to be grueling task, why can’t it be fun? That’s when I came upon the fun side of budgeting.
First and foremost, your budget is not something you have to stick to no matter what. It’s a little flexible. If you decide that this month you need to spend more on a delicious box of chocolates or a new swimsuit for your trip then it’s not a horrible thing to splurge a little. As long as you realize you’re going to have to spend less in another category. Once you realize this, you are free to have fun.
The second thing that’s important to remember is budgets are there for your happiness. Once you get a budget (and you stick to it) you are saving yourself the stress of wondering if you’ll be able to afford that new shirt or if you have to choose between that and a night out with your friends. You are giving yourself freedom to relax and have fun without worrying about where your money is going and if you’ll have enough for necessities.
You can even turn it into sort of a game. Try to save money in some places without becoming too intense about it. When I got my own budget, I found that I had fun planning my month around my budget. There was so much stress gone from my shoulders when I knew where I was spending my money and I felt good about where it was going.
I had included into my budget 20% to go to savings. I no longer stressed about how I was ever going to make up the money to buy what I was saving for because it was already in my budget! I could spend what I wanted knowing that my savings was being taken care of.
When you let it, budgets can become fun and a way for you to release the stress of money. Don’t think of it as a chore, but as a way to benefit you and your lifestyle.
- Make sure you aren’t tired or stressed while putting together your budget. You should have a clear, focused mind.
- Don’t think of it as something you can’t stray from ever, at all. You can splurge a little, even if it means you’re going to have to take money from another category.
- If you are in the process of planning your budget and you feel stressed, it’s okay to take a little time off to calm down, but don’t procrastinate, it only makes you more stressed.
- Be confident about your budget and make sure you feel good about your choices. It’s a tool to help relieve stress, not add to it.
These tips will help you tackle your budget and move forward with a less stressful approach to your finances. I hope this helps!
What exercises have you used with your family to teach financial independence? If you'd like more educational resources, check out Junior Achievement and Young Americans Center for Financial Education. Let us know what you think!