Are you having a hard time sticking to a budget? You have spent hours cutting costs, organizing bills, and creating a debt repayment plan but it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been there and done that. Budget burnout is real and it makes it hard to stick to a budget if managing your money is making you exhausted. I cannot tell you how many times I fell off the budget wagon but I have been sticking to a budget consistently for the past 5 years. I want to share with you how I avoid budget burnout.
Sticking to a budget is a victory by itself. Whenever I would reach a financial goal, such as paying off a debt, I would treat myself to something special. I called them “mini celebrations.” These celebrations do not have to be big and definitely not expensive, just something that will make you happy. My favorite “treat” was to splurge on a lunch at my favorite restaurant. It was a $20 bill that I couldn’t afford everyday but it was something to look forward to once a month or every other month.
I am a firm believer in tackling one goal at a time. Sticking to a budget is no different. If you are trying to meet all of your financial goals at once, you will burnout from money exhaustion. 10 years ago when I was determined to get out of debt, the biggest mistake I made was trying to pay off all of my debts at once instead of focusing on one creditor at a time. Doing this, I never saw the light at the end of the tunnel, it seemed like my debt wasn’t going anywhere! Then I started to put all my extra money on one debt at a time. I still paid the minimum balances on the other debts, but I focused on one at a time.
I know there are a lot of ways to save money. Believe me; I feel like I have tried them all. When you are start sticking to a budget, you exchange your money for your time. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad. I have stopped spending hours searching and cutting coupons. Yes, I could have saved more money but sometimes it’s not worth it. It’s exhausting searching through the papers, online coupons, store coupons and endless apps to save $1 on spaghetti sauce! I would rather spend that time paying with my kids or something productive. If you love to coupon, go for it but somethings are not worth wasting your time for a dollar or two of savings.
Let’s face it, things happen. One unplanned expense can mess up your entire budget for the month. If this happens time and time again, why would you want to stick to a budget if it doesn’t work? This is where I plan for the unplannable. I add a miscellaneous category to account for the unexpected. This can be anything from the company gift exchange, a forgotten birthday, or that annual subscription you forgot to cancel. Having a miscellaneous category has helped me stick to a budget even when my budget has big flaws.
Do you really think that you are not going to take a vacation for the next 5 years? What about that new cellphone upgrade you have been eyeing? Add these items into your budget. Sticking to a budget does not mean that you are depriving yourself of the fun things in life; it just means you are planning for them. Being realistic with your budget will definitely help you avoid budget burnout since you will still be able to enjoy some of the pricey things that make you happy.
What helps you stick to your budget?
Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.