Most people cringe at the sound of the word "budget" but I often remind them that "budget isn't a dirty word." Today, I want to talk about how you can actually have fun with your money - even when you're working on paying down debt or sticking to a strict budget!
I have been an avid weight watcher since my youngest daughter was born 11 years ago. After 6 months of hard work I lost 25 pounds on the plan! Then of course I thought I was invincible and didn’t have to track everything I ate. Not even another 6 months went by and I had gained several pounds back and was heading in the wrong direction. So I rejoined my favorite weight loss company and committed to losing the weight again. This cycle has happened many times over the course of these 11 years. Today I am back to tracking consistently so I can be fabulous on my upcoming vacation. J Losing weight is very similar to getting out of debt. You must be consistent because deprivation doesn’t help you in the long run. I love sugar and I eat some kind of dessert every day. But I don’t over indulge when I am tracking my food and working to lose some weight. Your budget is the same way. Don’t deprive yourself. Just plan to enjoy a little. Here are a few ways to still have fun while budgeting.
1. Save a little money for a "rainy day" (aka for fun!). You should always have some money in a "play/entertainment fund" that allows you to enjoy the journey without deviating from the planned budget. Set aside some cash each month specifically for you to play with that doesn't take away from your budget or throw the numbers off. This can be $20 or $100, but make sure it’s in there. It's like losing weight and still getting to enjoy a piece of cake or a cookie every now and then. Don't go overboard but enjoy the treat from time to time.
2. Set milestones. Break your goal down into small bite sized pieces. Think about these small steps and celebrate the quick wins. When working with me as your financial coach, for example, we work together to get you some quick wins and create those personalized baby steps to success. Just like you would celebrate losing 5 pounds, celebrate paying off 1 credit card among many. You worked hard now recognize it!
3. Dream again! This is easy for our kids to do and more challenging for adults. It may be large or small but take a moment and dream. It might be tough to sacrifice going out to eat or that new purse but it is fun to dream about what you'll be able to do without the guilt once your debt is paid off. Create a fun "debt-free vision board" with images of the items that you will be able to have or things you'll be able to do more freely once you have a successful budget and debt-free date achieved!
Use these three tips for having fun in your life even with a budget and it will help you will stay the course to reach your goals!