Sometimes I feel like I have the attention span of a squirrel. I can zone in on something for a bit, but then before I know it, I’m off on a new tangent and the old fascination is long forgotten. I have done this with craft projects, books, exercise and eating right, bullet journals, even curriculum isn’t safe from this swinging obsession.
In the last month, I have felt this most in my budget. The numbers are almost always the same (which is a GOOD thing, but boring), and I find myself falling back into my old habit of blindly spending most of our income on payday, and then spending two weeks wondering what happened. When I’m distracted, I tend to make mistakes. And mistakes in the budget are hard because they cost you extra money. Forgotten bills, not keeping up with my bill tracker, spending a little extra money without taking into account the rest of the budget… ugh. It started when I took a random vacation to offset burnout, and when I went on vacation…. apparently everything else around me did too. I’m nowhere near ready for my budget to take a vacation, but that’s what happened.
SO, new month, new me, new budget. I’m ready to jump back on the horse, I’m happy to say that even with that budget vacation I was able to accomplish my main financial goal this month and pay down our Best Buy card to avoid almost $600 in interest being added to it next month (I love those 18 months no interest promotions, but this time was a little bit of a crunch to pay it down). But I fell behind in plenty of other areas of the budget, so, here are some of my tips I’m going to utilize to help get us back on track.
10 Ways to Handle Budget Boredom
- Youtube videos. I highly recommend listening to Dave Ramsey sit there and yell at people for their budgeting blunders. It will kind of make you feel like you’re being yelled at to a degree, you’ll get fired up when you hear yet another person talk about how much they pay to LEASE their car, and you’ll gain more tips and tricks to help jump start your own budget. You can also just search budgeting, stuffing cash envelopes, or whatever part of the budget you’re struggling with and see people just like you who make mistakes and who have learned what to do and how to handle a budget.
- Reassess your goals and incentives. Take this time of boredom to look through what your goals are. Are you still fired up for that vacation to the grand canyon that you’ve been saving up for? Or are you feeling more like using it for a new project to spruce up your home? Maybe a trip to Disney, or to visit your friend across the country would be more fitting for you now. It’s okay to change some of your goals along the way. There’s plenty you can’t change, like saving up for a new roof because this one keeps leaking every time it rains or saving up for a more reliable vehicle because you can’t trust your current one to start anytime you want it to. But look through your goals (whether you have them written down, or stored in your online bank account) and see if there are things that you are still excited about in there.
- Have a budget meeting! I know, SO exciting, right?! But taking a few minutes and discussing the budget with your significant other can help you see where your current budget may be going wrong, you can both look through your goals and make sure there’s something in there that excites you both, and you can discuss the fact that you’ve been slacking on the budget and resolve that each of you will get back on track again!
- Read a book. Find a book on budgeting, or just on money in general. Find a book about changing your mindset or one about a topic that just excites you. By doing this you get new ideas, you learn more, and you get ready to go back out there and take on the world! It also helps you forget that you were thinking about how boring and mundane this task was in the first place because you’ve re-lit the fire under your ass.
- …Or read a blog about it. *wink* 🙂 I, obviously have a whole section on this site dedicated to finance. But, one of my favorite personal budget bloggers is Brittany from Penny’s Into Pearls.
- Try a new app. There’s NO shortage of apps that help you budget. A lot of them even let you sync a profile with your significant other so that you can both see what’s going on with the budget at any given time. You Need a Budget, and Every Dollar are trustworthy budgets that work much like my own paper budget.
- Make a vision board. You know all those savings goals you made and double-checked in #2? Pick three or four and make a wallpaper on your phone. Print out pictures of the goals and tape them to the bathroom mirror. Put visuals of your goals where you’ll easily see them without even thinking about it, daily! You are sending yourself subliminal messages when you do this, and you’ll be astonished at how quickly you achieve some of your goals with this in your arsenal. It’s the best mind trick ever!
- Make a bucket list of free. The best way to keep your budget is to stick to it! That means that if you want to go to the movies, or out to eat, you need to plan ahead. That’s fine most of the time, but the day always arrives where you have extra time on your hands and you feel restless. Make a list of all the free things to do in your area and refer to this list when the day of boredom arrives! Picnic at the park, some cities offer free movies in parks in the summer, make a list of books you want to read or movies you want to rent and find them at your local library, include friends you can call and catch up with, or host a movie night with friends right in your home. A lot of towns will have a list of events on a calendar that you can access online. Have some things lined up that you often don’t have the time for, but are free, so that you don’t find your self shopping, or going to the movies simply because you’re bored?
- Discuss money tips and tricks with like-minded friends. Ask your friends what kinds of budgets they use, or what apps for money they like. Do you have a friend who invests? Ask them to tell you about it. You can spend a lot of time talking about saving, or savings goals, and budgeting without needing to know anything about how much a person makes. You can help teach your friends and learn new things!
- Try a no-spend month! You still have to buy some food, you still have to pay bills. But in a no spend month you don’t spend a single dollar that isn’t already budgeted or completely necessary. No fun money, no eating out, no clothes shopping. Take all that money you saved and stick it in the savings account. It changes things up for the month (which is perfect when you’re bored with what you’ve been doing) and it really jump starts your savings and gets you right back on track!
In short, learn more, distract yourself, take time to check in with what you really want out of your budget, and change things up a bit!
Which of these tips are you most excited to try? I think now that I’ve written this out and taken the time to think about it, I’m going to talk to my husband about a no-spend month. Lord knows we could use it after this last month!
Until next time friends!