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It’s one thing to sit down and make a budget once (it’s not really a desirable task); it’s another to sit down every week or month and stick to said budget. As with exercise, you may feel great afterwards, but the process can be tedious.
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But, just like exercise, you can make budgeting fun. It certainly won’t be as joyful as, say, going to an amusement park or a party, but it may, at least, not be horribly boring. It can even be motivating for children.
GOBankingRates tapped into the expertise of finance professionals to discover their favorite ways to make budgeting a more enjoyable process for everyone.
Change game name
The word “budgeting” has such a dry and rigid meaning, largely because of the decades it has been associated with austerity and deprivation. Why not give it up completely?
“I’m a financial planner and I love talking about budgeting, but I call them ‘spending plans’ because of the negative connotation a lot of people have with the word ‘budget’,” said Sam Lewis, founder of SJL Financial, LLC.
Budget for fun
“By allocating a portion of your monthly budget to ‘play money,’ you’ll feel more motivated to stick with it,” said Lauren Anastasio, director of financial advice at Stash. “After all, you are bound to spend money on social activities or to treat yourself at some point in the month, so the most responsible thing you can do is plan it. Planning to use money for something you enjoy will make the budgeting activity a little less daunting.
make it sexy
“I recommend that couples try to meet and go over their budget once a week,” said Shang Saavedra of Save my pennies. “Make it sexy with your drink and snacks of choice; turn off all other distractions, if possible, and keep the environment upbeat. Focus on what you share in common rather than sorting through other people’s purchases. Celebrate each other to create positive feelings about personal finances and budgeting, which will help keep you both on track.
“One way to make budgeting fun and easy is to set up a visual budget for each week somewhere you can see it every time,” said Lucia Jensen, CEO of WeLoans. “Such visual aids to budgeting help you get into the habit more comfortably and make it a part of you. Additionally, the visuals also work great for teaching kids the concept of budgeting, building one, and overall improving their financial history, preparing them for a better lifelong relationship with money.
Take out the monopoly game
“A fun and tactile way to budget is to dust off a Monopoly game,” said Gates Little, president and CEO of altLINE Sobanco. “Use Monopoly money to represent your current income and use properties to represent the various bills and financial goals you want to include in your budget. This helps you visualize where your money is going and where you are missing out.
Little adds that having fake money in front of you will help your real money look more real – since we rarely deal with cash anymore.
“If you’re not a fan of pen and paper, it’s time to step into the 21st century and use budgeting apps like Mint or Goodbudget,” said Abdulrahman Henedy, the founder of Financial. “You can track your purchases using this type of software on your phone. You can import transactions from your bank account and link them to other platforms. You can see graphs and charts of your spending and saving habits. Your budget is always accessible as long as you have your device.
Get help with the annoying stuff
“If you have many recurring bills, like cable, internet, etc., and haven’t negotiated a new price recently, enlist the help of a Bill Fixers or BillCutterz to do the dirty work. instead of you,” said Jeff Wright, co-founder and COO of Sagewell Financial. “If they save you money, they’ll split the savings with you. You end up with more money and avoid that awkward call with your cable company.
Consider the 52 Week Challenge
“The 52-week challenge motivates you to make periodic deposits into your savings account for a period of time,” Henedy said. “Here’s how it works:
1. Put $1 into your savings account in week 1 of the challenge.
2. Put $2 in your savings account in week 2.
3. Keep adding a dollar each week until you reach week 52, when you add $52.
You’ll save $1,378 at the end of the 52 week challenge. This is not a bad way to put money into a vacation or emergency fund.
“If you really want to make budgeting fun, try competing with a friend,” said DeShena Woodard of ExtravagantlyBroke.com. “You can engage in friendly competition with a budget buddy, your spouse, or even a group of friends to create weekly or monthly budget challenges.
“For example, create a challenge like who can save the most money in 30 days,” Woodard continued. “Or try the ’14 Days Not to Eat Out’ challenge to see who lasts. You can come up with many kinds of fun competitions that can make budgeting enjoyable. The thrill of outdoing a friend is great motivation to stay accountable and stay on track with your financial goals. Plus, let’s not forget bragging rights if you win – who doesn’t love that? »
Save for something the family wants
To help get your kids (or reluctant family members) involved in budgeting, you can make it fun by planning something financially exciting.
“It could be a family vacation like an RV vacation to see national parks or a trip to Disney, or maybe a family purchase like a swimming pool or some other item that benefits the whole family and the whole family family wants,” David said. A. Fowler, President of High Mountain Financial Coaching LLC.
Leave space for your dreams
“Yes, a budget includes commitments and bills to pay, but it should include your goals, dreams, and desires,” said Alejandra Rojas, finance professional and financial coach. “With this, you not only allow your mind to get used to seeing what you are going to achieve, but it pushes you out of the ‘lack’ mentality.”
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