A Fitness Plan for My Budget? Strengthen Your Finances with These Simple Tips
Hello! It’s your personal trainer here, and I’m just stopping in to help strengthen up that bank account. That’s right, similar to a fitness routine, it’s possible to keep that budget in shape by implementing some effective (and fun) strengthening exercises.
It all starts with the motivation. You can’t expect to get very far without some real goals in mind. Think of it as if you were setting your goals for your fitness plan; how would you stay motivated? Most people put a picture up on the fridge of the body they want. In this case, a motivational purchase picture can have the same effect; the house you are saving up for, the lifestyle you dream of after retirement, a brand new car, etc. Whatever you may be budgeting for, make it a clear goal and visualize yourself accomplishing it.
Now that you’ve put the necessary motivators in place, let’s move on to the next step. It is so much easier to consistently work towards a goal if you have someone to help keep you accountable. Whether it’s exercising or budgeting, it’s one of the best ways to stay on track! So, find a saving buddy and set the goals with them. This way, you are giving yourself the incentive of sticking to your plan. This person could be your wife or husband, your best friend, or your coworker, and will be very helpful when the going gets tough. Having a saving buddy during plateaus and life’s challenges will help you stay focused and keep on the path to financial freedom.
You and your buddy need to make an official plan before we get too far, so outsource with free, readily available resources. You can simply write your plan down on a piece of paper, or you can use one of the many free websites that help you budget like smartypig.com or mint.com.
Now that you have your form of motivation, your saving buddy, and your official plan, let’s get creative and make saving fun. Each time you exercise, you challenge yourself to do better than the previous day and the same can be done with your saving and budgeting plan. Let’s say you want to challenge yourself to be a better grocery shopper. If you spent X amount last month, try to do better with a goal in mind next month. Another way to challenge yourself is to see how much you can save by unplugging everything in your house. Or, test yourself on how long you can go without spending any money at all; 2 days, 4 days? Keep setting these small benchmark goals to give yourself a constant feeling of accomplishment.
It’s important to allow yourself small rewards along the way. A runner training for a marathon might reward themselves for running every day with a small bowl of ice cream. Similarly, if you’ve gone a full month at work with packed lunches, maybe you would reward yourself with a modest lunch out with co-workers. Or a simple post on social media is a [free] way to feel accomplished; it’s okay to brag about your accomplishments! Remember not to overextend with rewarding yourself. You wouldn’t want to erase any progress with celebration, but it’s important to remind yourself that you’ve been doing a great job.
A budget is almost exactly like a fitness plan; it’s simply mind over matter and all it takes is some dedication and planning. So, let’s get started building spending strength and self-control and get those budgets in shape for your financial freedom!