A correctly designed budget is the most precise and useful tool for analyzing your personal finance and resolving any expenditure issues you may have. Yet, while we’re all aware of the importance of budgeting, the very word “budget” tends to make most people groan. But living on a budget doesn’t have to be all about penny pinching and saving every dime, and managing your finances doesn’t have to be tedious. Check out these top five tips to take some of the strain out of your financial management.
1. Set some goals
You do this in every other area of your life; whether it’s running a marathon or learning to speak a new language, we need goals to help us get to where we want to go in life, and the same is true when it comes to managing our finances. So set yourself some financial goals and come up with small yet achievable steps that you can actually stick to. Each time you hit your target you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and look forward to reaching the next, instead of dreading opening your bank statement.
2. Reward yourself from time to time
Budgeting can be hard work, so make sure that you give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Not only is this an excellent way to keep you motivated, but it will give you something to look forward to every month. We’re not talking about huge rewards, like sparkling jewellery or a brand new car, but modest yet satisfying treats like a new pair of shoes or a facial should be enough of a well-done reward.
3. Revolutionize your social life
While we all love going out with friends, it can be an expensive pastime. Wining, dining, dancing, or even going to a movie theater can put a serious dent in your budget. When you’re dedicated to saving, you need to make some changes and set some ground rules. Don’t be afraid to say no to friends who only want to go to pricey joints, and instead of going out to dinner, try inviting them around to eat at home. If you all take turns to host the party, you can share the financial burden. Get the most out of free engagements like visiting art galleries, festivals, parks, beaches, or other public places that don’t cost a dime, and try sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to get huge savings on hotel stays, eating out, beauty treatments, and more.
4. Get a savings buddy
You probably have friends and family that help you out in other areas of your life, from losing weight to training for a sponsored fun run, so why not apply this to your saving plan as well? Get yourself a savings buddy who can encourage you to stick to your plan. Not only will you have someone to hang out with free of charge, but you can also celebrate each other’s milestones along the way.
5. Get online
Nowadays there are tons of online tools you can use to take the pain out of managing your money by offering tips and allowing you to keep records and set goals. Sites like Mint even map out your expenses with easy-to-understand pie charts.
Above all, remember that financial management is more of a marathon than a sprint, so plan for the long term and try to make it as fun as possible; if you can learn to enjoy budgeting your money then you’re guaranteed to finish first.