Do you find it difficult to stick to your budget at times? Go through these 9 motivation tips and you will never fall off the budget bandwagon again!
Currently, I have different financial goals I want to achieve. I still have $19,000 student loans pending, I want to buy a house within two years, and I want to save 60% of my income this year.
I love money – saving money and making more money is my jam. But every now and then I’m completely unmotivated and want to spend all of it.
I’m sure I’m not alone. Many choose to live frugally, but it’s not always easy to stick to it.
It can be hard to stick to your budget. Finding motivators is essential in this, so you will continue to work towards your goals at any time. Without this motivation, you might be tempted to give up your financial goals easily.
Over the last few years, I’ve found many ways to stay motivated that I’m going to share with you. Here are my tips on how to stick to a budget and stay motivated along the way.
How To Stick To Your Budget – Motivation Tips!
#1 – Pay Yourself First
My #1 hack to sticking to your budget, is paying yourself first. If you have savings or debt payoff goals, pay those things first. When you receive your salary, this amount goes automatically towards your financial goals.
In this way, it’s harder to fail your budget. You’ve already put money towards your saving or debt payoff goal, so that money cannot be spent anymore.
Great start of the month that is – believe me!
[Related Read: 15 Frugal Living Tips To Implement Now]
#2 – Keep It Real
If you want to set up a budget – be clear about why you want to do it. If you want to go on holiday, that’s a good goal. It’s important to keep your budget as realistic as possible. Don’t go too extreme, like throwing out your entire entertainment budget or not going to events because you’re afraid to spend money.
Be realistic with yourself where you can cut back and where you can’t. If you’re feeling deprived by your budget, you will be more likely to break with it. Cut out the things you can miss and keep the things you love.
#3 – Hang Out With Like-Minded People
Sharing your goals with others will work for sure! If you don’t have any friends who are into budgeting and money, there are many ways to do it. Share it on social media. If you want to take it to the next step: start a blog!
Blogging really helped me to keep track of my financial goals, and it keeps me accountable. It’s easy to set goals every month and to reflect on it because I feel like I owe it to my readers. If you’re interested, you can start a blog for cheap using my 15-minute tutorial.
#4 – Make Your Goals Visual
There are different methods to make your goals visual. You can cut out photos of magazines and paste them onto a blank paper. You can use Pinterest to make a digital version – let’s connect on Pinterest so I can see what you’re making. Or you can print out a single photo and keep it with you.
My favorite way is to create a vision board because you can put up multiple pictures and hang them somewhere you see them daily.
The specific form is up to you – whatever motivates you most you should choose. Your goal visualization should show you the exact reason why you want to stick to your budget.
Place it somewhere you’ll see it daily. This is a constant reminder that will keep you motivated when things get hard.
[Related Read: The Process Is Not Interesting – No One Wants To See It]
#5 – Set Smaller Goals
Setting smaller goals in between will help you to steadily work towards your financial end goals. It’s a nice way to challenge yourself – make it a game. This will keep you motivated and on track.
If you want to save $12,000 at the end of the year, this can be too overwhelming. When you’re saying that you’ll save $1,000 each month, it seems much more attainable and realistic. It’s still a lot of money, but this kind of goal setting both challenges you and keeps you motivated.
Choose a goal that motivates and excites you to keep going. Stay away from goals that seem too big to even grasp, because that won’t help you in the long term.
#6 – Keep Track
If you’ve set up your budget and have taken care of the accountability – it’s important to keep track of these smaller goals you’re setting. Every now and then you should review your process. It depends on your personal preference if you want to check in weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
When you check your progress, you can make adjustments along the way and stay on the right track.
I recommend YNAB for keeping track of your budget and your finances. You can put all your budgets in the categories that they provide and start doing it now.
#7 – Reward Yourself, Have Fun
I love keeping up with what I’ve spent in a month, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ve saved that month. I’m very much aware that I’m a minority in that regard.
For everyone who is not thrilled about sitting down to keep track of their budget, try to reward yourself for doing it. Make it fun! Give yourself a nice treat when you’re working on your budget. Get a snack you love, go on a walk, go to your favorite bookstore, do something you love.
If you link it with something you enjoy, you will stick to it!
[Related Read: Why Frugality Is NOT Boring]
#8 – Keep The Goal In Mind
One great thing that will keep you motivated, it to think about the end goal. How will that make you feel? When you’ve paid off your debt? When you’ve saved that X amount of money?
Envision what you will feel like when you’ve reached your goal. Think about why you are pursuing that goal. Remind yourself to constantly use the vision board, accountability, and celebrate your goals.
What will your day look like when you’ve paid off your debt? How will you feel when you see that X amount of money in your bank account? A little daydreaming can go a long way.
[Related Read: 88 Life-Changing Money Affirmations For Wealth And Abundance]
#9 – Set Yourself Up For Success
Once you’ve done all of this, you’re well on your way to sticking to your budget. One thing to keep in mind is that you should set yourself up for success.
Don’t make it too hard for yourself. Don’t be the person that buys the cookies and tries to train their willpower attempting not to eat them. Willpower is a limited resource, use it wisely.
Instead: set yourself up for success. If you have a hard time not spending money at a shopping mall, don’t bring your credit card. If you’re always overspending on your groceries, stick to your grocery list no matter what.
It’s key to think before you’re getting yourself in a specific situation; how do I want to act now I’m this new person with these money goals?
You might want to meal prep, take your lunch to work or take the bike instead of the car.
How do you keep yourself motivated to stick to your budget?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.