“But it’s soooo boring,” is a common response when I mention the importance of maintaining a budget. Often, we avoid a good habit because it’s not very enjoyable. But it’s not always about having fun. If I go to the gym with the intention of enjoying myself, I fail nearly every time. However, if my objective is to improve my strength and fitness, I succeed every time. Occasionally I enjoy myself – if, for example, a poseur walks into a mirror – but mostly it’s a slog. But, that (almost) daily effort will hopefully keep me vertical and mobile for another four or five decades.
Recording your expenses each day is much less fun than watching Orange is the New Black, but it’s completely unrivalled if your aim is to feel more in control of your finances and meet goals such as saving for retirement or a new house. So, being more mindful of your intentions can help when motivation is on the wane. Here are a couple of suggestions for keeping going.
Create a motivational password
You probably type your password a least a couple of times each day. Changing it to a motivational sentence is likely to be more secure, and it’ll also remind you of your priorities every few hours. You could try:
As you’ll see, you can replace letters with numbers or symbols to improve security. This might stop you buying stuff on Amazon or fiddling about on Facebook when you could be finding a new client.
Keep a note in your purse or wallet
In the excitement of discovering a bargain, we quickly reach for our credit cards. If, however, this involves first removing a message emblazoned with a financial goal, we’re likely to think twice. This is a firm reminder of those real priorities, such as “I want to retire at 60,” “I really need a new car,” “I don’t want to starve when I’m old,” etc. Of course, this doesn’t generally work with online purchases, as we tend to store our details. Disable one-click ordering and remove your card information. You can still buy that item, but it forces you to confront the note in your wallet each time.
Perhaps you’ll never actually enjoy budgeting, but I reckon you’ll relish the results. Whatever you need to do, keep reminding yourself why.