The New Year’s resolutions have been made, and many people have resolved to “spend less money” in 2009. Setting up a budget for the new year can be easy, but finding ways to stay motivated can mean the difference between budget success and failure. Here are some strategies to keep you motivated and on the road to success with your budget.
- Positive Attitude — The most successful budgets are those you have entered into with a positive attitude. A budget does not mean you need to deny yourself, rather you are freeing yourself from debt and financial struggles. Now is the time to think positively about what living on a budget will do for you and your family.
- Realistic Goals — Having both long term and short term realistic goals is crucial to the success of your budget. Long term goals, like saving for a house, can be discouraging if too much time slips by and your back to your old spending ways. Instead, be sure to have short term goals that help you to reach your long term goals so you stay motivated.
- Reward Yourself — With each goal accomplished be sure to reward yourself with something you truly enjoy. Have a family game night, picnic lunch at the park, host a movie night with other families, and spend quality time together.
- Calculate the Savings — Spending $5.00 a day at Starbucks doesn’t sound like much, but cutting out the little expenses can add up to huge savings. Use a savings calculator, like the one at CNNMoney.com, to figure out that investing those $5 a day (or $150 a month) for five years at 8% interest will generate $11,021.53.
- Minimize Impulse Spending — Take a photo of your biggest long term financial goal, and tape it to your credit card. The next time you go to use your card, you will be reminded that this small purchase is sending your goal a little bit further away. Another trick to limit impulse buys is to keep an index card in your wallet. When you see something you would like to purchase, write it down on the card and think about it for at least a week. If you see something else you would like to buy, write it down also, but only keep room on the card for about three things. If you need to write down something else, then you must remove something from the list first to make room for the new item. If something stays on the list for a long time, and you have the money, go ahead and buy it.
- Forgive Yourself — Living on a budget can have its ups and downs, but if you have a bad day, be sure to forgive yourself and move on. The key is to not be so hard on yourself that you will not want to continue with your budget. Leave more time for relaxation and meditation to limit any additional stress. Keep track of your goals, and reward yourself when you achieve them. Sticking to a budget can help you find financial stability, eliminate debt, and spend more quality time with friends and family — all powerful reasons to keep you motivated.