Now well into the new year, we are probably starting to re-evaluate some of our goals for 2016, if we haven't already abandoned them alltogether. Whether it’s a new cleanse diet, or a strict new workout routine, many people find it hard to stick with their resolutions for the long term.
The same goes for our financial resolutions. If you’re starting to feel that budget burnout— keep the faith. There are ways to stick with your resolution and be happy about it, too.
First off, most people’s financial resolutions include saving more money and paying down debt. To make your life easier and prevent budget burnout, automate both of those things. Set a (realistic) payment amount if you have debt, and automate that through your credit union or the lender/creditor’s online payment plan.
Same goes for your savings—settle on a number you’re comfortable with and automate that on a monthly or weekly basis. I have mine set for the beginning of each month. That first week, there is an automatic transfer from my checking to my savings. This works for me because if I wait until the end of the month, when my checking starts looking anemic, that transfer would be much less appealing.
2. Get real
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Sit down and figure out your income, obligations, and other budgeting basics before you set grand financial goals for the year. While it might take you longer than you thought to pay off that card, making realistic plans means you’re more likely to get it done.
If you make plans to eat saltines and canned tuna for 6 months to go completely debt-free, I guarantee that at some point there’ll be a ravenous spending spree. I like to use the Powerpay.org tool to schedule my payments. It’s a great way to see your debts and payments in a set amount of time and allocate your payments depending on how much extra you can pay at any given time. It gives you a clear schedule of payments and helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Work together
If you’re in a relationship where the budgeting affects both of you, get the other person involved in the process. While some people consider it easier to leave the budgeting matters completely to one person, I think it helps if you’re both in the loop. Sit down and make sure you’re both on the same page about your goals and the plan to achieve them. If one of you is set on budgeting, and the other has no clue what the limits/goals are, there’s bound to be conflict and trouble achieving those goals.
Beat budget burnout this year by simplifying your financial life, setting realistic expectations, and sharing the load with your significant other. Don’t forget your fun fund and always remember to reward yourself (put that in the budget!) for being financially responsible. Also, ask your credit union if they have any tools they recommend.
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