Creating a budget isn't incredibly difficult, but where most people fail is trying to maintain the budget. It usually starts with good intentions, but just like dieting, it doesn’t take much to derail your entire plan. Here are three traits you must posses if you want to create and maintain a successful budget.
A Positive Attitude
Without a doubt, you need to go into the budgeting process with a positive attitude. If you think of budgeting as a chore, or that you are sacrificing something, you’ll find it is extremely difficult to keep at it.
Don’t think of the negative aspects of a budget, but think about the rewards. If you stick to your budget, what will you achieve? You may get out of debt sooner, you might be able to save money for a family vacation, or even be able to stash more money away for retirement or your child’s education. Whatever your financial goals are, you need to focus on the budget as a tool to reach these goals.
Building on the positive attitude, you need to maintain motivation. What can happen over time is that you get into the habit of following your budget, and it all becomes routine. If you lose that motivation, you become complacent.
To become motivated again, consider rewarding yourself, or even increasing your goals. You need to find something that will push you to go the extra mile. If your goal was to have that credit card paid off in eight months and you’ve been plugging along just fine, challenge yourself to pay it off in seven months. If you do, reward yourself with something you’d enjoy.
The feeling of accomplishing your financial goals is intoxicating, so if you can continue to push yourself to reach these goals, you’ll be able to maintain the excitement and motivation needed to keep at it.
Keep Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest budget killers is unrealistic expectations. If you set your sights too high, you only become discouraged when you fail to reach them. While it is admirable to try and accomplish great things, you need to set goals that are challenging, yet realistic.
One way to do this is to start fairly small with short timeframes. If you create smaller bite-sized goals over the coming months, you can see how likely you are to accomplish them, then, build upon those goals to set your sights a little higher. This is not only a great way to stay motivated, but it also helps keep your goals manageable.