Budgeting? Fun? Can you even use those words in the same sentence? It’s an idea that’s just crazy enough to work. Budgeting can be fun if you make it fun. And when it feels less like work, you might even be more inclined to stick with the budget you create.
How can you make budgeting more fun? Here are my top tips to transform budgeting from a dreaded chore to an enjoyable exercise. Let’s go!
1. Turn Budgeting into a Date Night
When you have a date night, the fun doesn’t just come from the things you’re doing. It comes from spending time with your significant other. So why not try to make budgeting more fun by turning it into a date night?
Couples need to connect in different ways, and money is one of them. You both participate in earning and spending the money, so you both need some sort of alignment in where your money is going.
For your budgeting date, take time to get on the same page about your expenses and debts. Look for spending trends and raise any concerns if you don’t like how your money is being handled each month. Aim for transparency with each other, but also remember to have fun and enjoying connecting. And just think of all the money you’ll save by making popcorn at home and budgeting on a cozy couch instead of going out for a movie or fancy dinner!
2. Give Each Account a Fun Nickname
I love the idea of having different accounts for different purposes. It reminds me a lot of the old-school envelope system, where you put physical money into physical envelopes for different spending categories and could only use what’s there for that category. For example, if your eating-out envelope was empty, you didn’t eat out!
I see a lot of folks open different checking and savings accounts with their bank, then add funds to those accounts each month from their main account. With online banking, you can give your accounts fun nicknames that help you keep your funds separate.
Some examples I’ve seen are “Adulting Only” for bills, “The Most Expensive Piece of Paper Ever” for student loans, and “A Girl’s Gotta Eat” for grocery shopping. You can also take a Sharpie to your credit or debit cards if you use certain cards for certain expenses. Make up your own names and LOL each time you have to refill your accounts.
3. Get Crafty with Debt Charts
When you’re paying off debt, you’ll get a balance update on the next billing cycle. But it’s still hard to wrap your mind around how much you’re paying each month and how far you’ve come in your payoff.
The fun and easy fix: turn your debt into an interactive chart. Break out the arts and crafts supplies (or your favorite editing software) and create a debt chart. Make a chart for each bill you’re paying down or make one giant chart to display all your bills. With each payment, fill in your progress so you can visualize how much more you have to go until that debt is done!
4. Think End Goals, Not Just Dollar Amounts
Budgeting is about controlling your money. Maybe you want to free up some cash to take a vacation or buy a new pair shoes. Whatever you want, you can more easily achieve it when you connect your budget to your goals.
That in itself makes budgeting more fun. No one likes to do something just because they should. When it becomes something you want to do because there’s something valuable in it for you, budgeting will come much easier.
So, think about the reasons why you want to budget. Are you trying to free up funds for something specific? Do you want a little extra financial security? Are you saving for long-term goals, or trying to get out of debt?
You might even get a picture of your end goal, such as the place you’d like to travel to, and post it somewhere where it will always be top of mind. You’ll see that end goal every day and can watch your finances more closely to reach that goal.
5 Gamify Your Budget
Gamification is everywhere. This is where you turn an activity or goal into a game of sorts, such as trying to earn points or increase your score to reach certain benchmarks.
You can gamify your budget to make it more fun. For example, you might set small goals each month, such as not spending more than a certain dollar amount on takeout or adding at least $500 to savings. When you reach those goals, you might reward yourself with something small, such as your favorite chocolate bar. Small milestones can help you reach larger goals — and earn larger rewards!
Bottom line: Budgeting can be fun! But what you gain from budgeting is even more fun because it offers you a greater sense of financial security. Get help with budgeting with my free Budgeting Course here!