Four top tips for motivating yourself to stick to a budget
When you have a large family, careful budgeting is always going to be important. However, crunching the numbers and making the initial decision to spend less is only half the battle. You then have to find the motivation to stick to your budget even after the initial novelty of it has worn off! Luckily there are plenty of psychological tricks you can use to help you stay dedicated and achieve your financial goals. Here are four of the best to get you started.
1. Set inspiring goals
It might seem that the goal of budgeting is obvious – spend less and save more, right? However, when it comes to long-term motivation and achievement, this is not always enough. A better tactic is to choose goals which are precise, measurable and realistic. This could be anything from saving a specific percentage of your income every month, to spending no more than a certain amount on your weekly food shop. Whatever you choose, make sure that the goals are challenging but achievable. If you pick something that’s too difficult, you will likely become demotivated after failing to succeed several times in a row – and perhaps quit altogether.
2. Allow small rewards
When sticking to a budget you need to be self-disciplined; however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t ever treat yourself. In fact, if you are too strict, it can be counterproductive. Allowing yourself a little reward or indulgence when you reach a milestone can actually act as a helpful motivator to push on and achieve the next goal. The reward can be anything, from a spa day to shopping for couture bags, as long as it makes you feel good but doesn’t completely blow your budget! If you’re getting the kids involved with your budgeting, you can try the same tactic with them too.
3. Try visualization
Visualization is becoming ever more widely accepted as a valid motivational tool, and for good reason. Research has shown it can help us perform better in many different areas, so why not give it a try? For example, you could create a vision board (either physically or digitally) that’s filled with images of what you hope to achieve by sticking to your budget. These could be anything from photos of your dream holiday destination to pictures of your ideal home. The process itself can be fun too, especially if you get the kids to help out – you could even make a vision board each!
4. Track your progress
Once you have your goals and vision boards in place, it’s important to track the progress that you are making towards achieving them. Seeing your spending decrease and your savings steadily increase not only helps you to know how close you are to reaching your ultimate goal, it also acts as a motivator to stick to your budget. You can use a simple pen and paper for this, but setting up an Excel spreadsheet or using one of the many apps specifically designed for the purpose can be more convenient. You’re sure to find it inspiring to tick off your mini goals as you go!