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Guest post by Dani Schultz, Co-Founder of Bucks & Dough. She is all about helping you live an all-around wealthy life.
Budgets are cool and can be fun to both create and stick to. You don’t have to dread staying on a budget. Budgets are not a punishment; they are in place to help you be creative, money-conscious and help you create more wealth!
First off, if you have never created a budget before, I recommend you first track all of your spending for at least a month. If you don’t even know what you spend your money on each month, then you will have no clue how to even set a budget that will be realistic to you.
Track everything down to your last penny, if you buy a pack of gum at the gas station, make a student loan payment, pay your rent, go out for lunch, pay for the Uber for your friends, and mark it ALL down. Write it in a notebook, create a note on your phone, or use your computer to track your spending.
Don’t change anything about your spending; this needs to be an accurate gauge on what you spend. Once you have an outline of what and where you spend your money, then you can create a budget for yourself. And remember everyone is different. So don’t compare your budget to other people’s budgets.
To make it even easier, get our FREE Budget Template here:
5 Ways to Make Budgeting Fun
1. Create your budget in a fun location
Whether or not you are creating your budget with a partner, mark the calendar and block off time to make creating your budget a “date”. Go to one of your favorite coffee shops, parks, rooms in your house, maybe while watching the sunset somewhere. Go to a place where you know that you will not be distracted and can put all your attention into it. Turn off your phones, TVs, anything that you know will distract your attention. Make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed when creating your budget.
2. Make it easy to read
I could tell you how to lay out your budget, but everyone is so different in what they purchase, what they see value in spending on and what their fixed expenses are. So instead, I encourage you to experiment in a few different ways. First, start by tracking your spending for at least a month.
Fixed Expenses: “does not change from period to period” Examples: mortgage or rent payments, loan payments, lease/car loan payment, vehicle insurance (if paying monthly), WIFI and Life/Disability/Extended health insurance, etc.
Variable Expenses: “expenses that can change depending on your use of products or services” Examples: groceries, eating out, gas, vacations, coffee, etc.
Here are some ways to make your budget easy to read.
Break your budget down into:
- Fixed expenses
- Variable expenses
- Income – a full-time job, side hustle, passive income
- Savings – 401k, employee match, HSA account
3. Budget in adventurous/exciting activities
This one is SO important! Make sure that you budget your money so that you have the money to have fun and be adventurous. Life is way too short to not have fun and be able to do the things that light up your soul. Each month will be different, so budget each month differently. One month you might be going to your girlfriends’ bachelorette, then the next month it is your mom’s birthday, and then the next month you are going to be going out to eat with some of your favorite friends.
Allow yourself to have fun and be social! You won’t regret it.
4. Give your money nicknames
Another way to make budgeting fun is to start to label both your fixed and variable expenses so that it is way more fun to look at. That way when you open up your budget you aren’t just looking at boring numbers and labels. Also if you are creating your budget with a partner or a family make sure that you get everyone involved when you are thinking up your unique names. This will make it exciting for everyone to start to talk about your budget in general and a great way to get your kiddos involved with budgeting.
Need some ideas?
Gym membership — Getting Fit Cash
Allowance — Treat Yo’self
Groceries — Yummy
Rent/Mortgage – My Pad
Car Insurance – Beep Beep Insurance
Get super creative here, you got this! This is your time to be funny and have a blast creating your budget!
5. Celebrate your wins
Instead of getting that coffee from the coffee shop every day of the week, maybe part of your monthly goals that month is to only buy coffee on Tuesday and Thursday. And if you last the whole month of doing just that, then at the end of the month you get to do whatever you planned for yourself as a way to celebrate that budget win!
Leave room in your budget so that you can celebrate yourself and your hard work. Budgets are not supposed to be like punishment, they are in place so that you are telling your money where to go, instead of your wondering where all your money went.
I told you that you can make budgeting fun! Take action. Remember that if you don’t have a budget in place, track your spending for the next month, starting right now. And if you do already have your budget up and running, look through and see what new nicknames you can give your money.
Which of these fun budgeting tips will you try? Let us know in the comments!
Dani is a 27-year-old living in Minnesota with her fiancé. Things that make her tick are CrossFit, going on adventures, hiking, biking, kayaking, figuring out ways to save money, and sticking to their monthly budget and figuring out ways to make passive income. She nannies part-time, is a CrossFit coach, invests in real estate, invests in the stock market, hosts her house on Air Bnb, and runs her own Nature-based summer camp for kiddos, taking them on adventures with her. She is all about helping other people talk about finances.