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Are you struggling to stay motivated in your budget?
Do you feel like you have so much do to that it paralyzes you to the point where nothing gets done?
The motivation to budget is just not there.
I totally get it.
I’ve gone through these phases of feeling completely lazy and not wanting to do anything too. As a mother, it can be especially trying.
The kids are fighting, your toddler is regressing in his potty-training and the house is a constant disaster. The last thing you want to do is sit down to run the numbers.
I still go through periods of not feeling motivated to budget.
But what is motivation exactly?
Motivation is a psychological force that allows us to take action. It is the desire or willingness to get things done.
But what happens when you don’t have the desire? Or what if the force isn’t with you? How can you find the motivation to do something that you don’t like or even something that you are afraid of?
Here’s the reality: Motivation only exists after you have already taken action.
That leaves just one thing to do. That is to take action.
Isaac Newton says “An object in motion tends to stay in motion.” So that means, open up your planner or spreadsheet and get to work.
Don’t waste your time trying to search for motivation. It’s not going to magically appear.
Instead, make a list of things that need to get done, count backward from 5 and get started. Once you take that initial action, you’ll find the motivation to keep going.
There will be times that you lose your motivation or desire to continue. Below, I’m going to share some realistic tips that will make it easier to stay motivated in your budget.
Before we get into the meat of this article, I’d like to offer you a tool to help you stay organized in your budget. It’s the Yearly Expense Tracker. Organize your bills into monthly, quarterly and yearly expenses and never miss a payment again. Download your free Yearly Expense Tracker below!
So How Do You Stay Motivated On a Budget and In Your Finances?
Here are simple and realistic tips that you can start applying today.
Discover Your Why and Keep It Close
The first thing that I like to tell people is to find your “WHY”.
Why are you budgeting? Why do you want to pay off debt? Why do you want to save more money?
If you are doing it because “some guy on the internet said so”, then you’ll quickly find yourself financially fatigued. You won’t make much progress and you are more likely to give up.
So I encourage you to find your own “WHY”. Find something that means a lot to you.
Most people choose their children. They are budgeting, saving money, and trying to reach financial freedom for their children.
But sometimes, that answer can be so broad that it doesn’t light that fire for you to move off your butt.
You need to dig deeper. Pick something that upsets you, that makes you tear up, and fosters an emotion deep within.
That is your WHY. It might not be your children, and that’s okay.
Do you dream of owning a home one day? Do you want to go on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Are you fed up with being worried about money all the time?
Once you find your WHY, keep it close. And always refer to your WHY when you begin to lose the motivation to budget.
Stop the Excuses
“Excuses sound best to the person that’s making them up.”Tyrese Gibson
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep this in mind when you find yourself looking for a reason not to do something.
Pity hinders our ability to move forward. If you linger on “why me”, then you’ll never get anything done.
Create a Visualization or Inspiration Board
If you can envision your goal in plain sight, you will be more likely to reach your goal as opposed to keeping it all in your head.
You don’t have to be super creative to be able to create a vision board. Your vision could be a print out of 5 positive statements that reflect your goals and feelings.
When you see your vision every day, you will be reminded of why you need to take action.
Set Realistic Goals
When you set unrealistic goals, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Trying to force your $500 grocery budget to $200 for a family of 6 is unrealistic. It’s just not going to happen.
There is a budgeting percentage graph by Dave Ramsey that I believe is so unrealistic for the modern-day family that many people continue to share.
First off, Dave recommends allocating just 25% of your budget toward housing. If you make $3,000 per month, this means that your housing should be no more than $750 per month.
If you currently spend $500 on groceries as a family of 5 and everyone is fed, you don’t waste food, you use coupons, and your family has home-cooked meals, then $500 is probably right where you need to be.
Trying to cut your grocery bill down to $200 is unrealistic and will only dampen your spirits.
After all, this is YOUR budget. There is no need to follow a cookie-cutter budget.
Break Up Big Goals Into Smaller Goals
When you look at your big goal, it can seem very daunting. Let’s say you have a goal of saving $10,000 in one year.
That’s a big pill to swallow, right?
Instead of focusing on that HUGE number, try focusing on 3 months at a time. If you do that, then you only need to think about saving $2500 in the next 3 months.
That number sounds like it’s easier to reach, right? Plus the smaller time frame will give you a sense of urgency that you’ll need to stay on track and stay motivated in your budget.
Find An Accountability Partner
We are more inclined to get things done if we do it for someone else as opposed to ourselves.
I have never turned in a paper late and I always meet deadlines at work but for some reason, I cannot stick to my own deadlines without exercising extreme discipline (which doesn’t happen all the time by the way).
Find yourself an accountability partner and let them know what your goal is. Allow them to check on you to make sure you’ve reached your goal.
It’s not fun publicly telling someone you didn’t meet your goal.
On that note, you can also make a public Instagram or Facebook page to document your journey. The publicity might just give you the motivation you need to work hard on your budget to meet your goal.
Try a Different Method of Budgeting
If you’ve been using a standard monthly budget, then maybe it’s time to switch things up.
Take a look at the methods of budgeting and try them out. You may also find yourself incorporating aspects of each method to create your own style.
You’ll want to make budgeting as easy and simple as you can so that when the going gets tough, you won’t be completely withdrawn from getting things done.
Track Your Success and Celebrate Milestones
One of the greatest ways to fuel motivation is when you achieve success. My favorite way to track success is with savings trackers and debt payoff trackers.
When you focus on your achievements, you are more willing to keep going.
Research has shown that celebrating small wins can mean the difference in reaching larger long term goals. Small wins not only boost productivity but fuels motivation.
Leave Space for Fun
Let’s face it, not many people love to budget. Many times, the word budget is poorly received due to its negative connotation.
When people talk about budgeting, it’s mostly regarding spending less and being restrictive.
But when you allow yourself to spend money on fun, it begins to look like a wealth plan instead of a budget.
Like how I did that? Budget=Wealth Plan
Listen to a Podcast or YouTube Video
Another person’s words can resonate well with you. I was particularly stricken with this video when I was struggling in my business and wanting to go part-time in my career.
Browse podcasts that resonate with you and encourage you to do better in your finances.
Take a Break
Burnout is real. It happens to the best of us all the time. When burnout happens, you just don’t care to budget.
Burnout is one of the motivation killers. It prevents you from staying motivated in your budget.
It’s not healthy and so how can you prevent it from happening?
Make sure to take regular breaks to do something you enjoy. Take a walk in the park, listen to music, listen to a podcast, read a book, or take a nice long hot bath.
If you need to take a couple of weeks off of budgeting, do it. Then come back for a budget reset and start with a fresh perspective to get back on track.
Don’t Wait for Motivation to Come to You
One of my favorite quotes when it comes to thinking about motivation is by Marlie Forleo,
Losers wait for motivation. Winners just get shit done.Marie Forleo
The reality is that motivation just doesn’t come to you, it’s not necessarily something you find. The best thing to do is just get started and keep your WHY in front of you. Keep it as simple as you can and reward yourself and you will be able to stay motivated in your budget.
I have a very special group designed for mamas to talk about everything personal finance. It is filled with like-minded mammas who are going through what you are. There are designated days to learn more about personal finance topics so that you can expand your knowledge of money. Join here!