If you’re like most people, the word “budget” probably doesn’t conjure up memories of laughter and good times. But what if I told you that budgeting could be fun?
That’s right, FUN!
In this post, we’ll show you 10 ways to make budgeting more enjoyable so that you can take control of your finances and stress less about money.
1) Be More Positive About Budgeting
To start things off, I think it’s important to adjust your perspective and take a more positive approach to budgeting.
You see, a lot of people think that budgeting means giving up all the things you enjoy and eating ramen noodles for every meal. But that’s not actually the point of a budget!
And it’s this mentality that causes so many people to struggle and give up on budgeting altogether.
What you need to understand is that a budget is simply a tool to help you reach your financial goals. It’s not meant to be restrictive or punitive.
On the contrary, the goal of budgeting is to provide yourself with the freedom to do more with your money.
Sure, your budget might reveal some of your bad spending habits and force you to cut a few expenses, but that’s better than living in the financial dark.
Living on a budget is the fastest way to take control of your financial life. And when you approach budgeting with a more positive mindset, you’d be amazed at how much more fun it can be.
2) Play Offense
One of the biggest problems with budgeting is that it can feel like you’re always playing financial defense. Between tracking your spending, eliminating expenses, and paying off debt, it’s easy to fall into a defensive mindset–which can get tiring.
But what if you approached budgeting from a more offensive standpoint?
In other words, what if you shifted your focus from avoiding financial catastrophe to attacking your most inspiring financial goals?
For example, rather than focusing on the expenses you need to cut, you could set a goal to save more than you’ve ever saved in a single month. Either way, you’re going to have to cut back on your expenses, but when you’re playing offense, those kinds of actions will feel empowering rather than restricting.
You’d be amazed how effective this can be–especially if you have a competitive personality.
3) Focus On Shorter-Term Goals
When most people think about budgeting, they think about long-term financial goals like saving for retirement or paying off a mortgage. While these kinds of goals are important, they can be incredibly daunting; and even a bit overwhelming.
And when you’re staring down such a long timeline, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up on budgeting altogether.
So, if you want to make budgeting fun, try setting some shorter-term goals. For example, you could set a weekly goal to invest $250.
Or, you could set a quarterly goal to save enough money for a vacation–whatever gets you motivated.
Like running a series of 100-yard sprints vs running 10 miles, when you set shorter-term goals, you get to experience a ton of wins along the way.
And all those victories make budgeting a lot more fun.
4) Try High-Intensity Interval Budgeting (H.I.I.B.)
If you’re into fitness you’ve probably heard the phrase High-Intensity Interval Training.
It’s basically a training method where you alternate between periods of high-intensity work and low-intensity rest.
It’s an incredibly effective way to work out, and it turns out, it’s also a great way to make budgeting more fun.
Here’s how it works:
Each month, you break your budget into 4 intervals. For example, you could break a 30-day month into alternating 8-day and 7-day intervals.
On the 7-day intervals, you work extra hard to cut expenses, make extra money, and save more than your budget actually requires. I’m talking over the top, all-out financial effort. Get as much done as you possibly can, and don’t let anything stop you!
Then, during the 8-day intervals, you relax a little bit and maintain your budget like normal. After working extra hard, your normal budget should feel like a breeze.
This kind of variety will keep you focused and motivated. Plus, the rest periods will help you avoid burnout and stick with your budget over the long haul.
5) Make Room For Fun
While it’s important to focus on your financial goals, you also need to make room for fun in your budget.
After all, what’s the point of working hard and being frugal if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor?
So, make sure you give yourself some wiggle room in your budget by dedicating a portion of your budget to recreational spending.
Whether it’s a couple rounds of golf each month, a monthly shopping allowance, or a weekly date with your spouse, it’s important to work some fun into your budget.
6) Create A Rewards System
If you’re having difficulty sticking to your budget, try creating a rewards system for yourself.
For example, every time you stay within your monthly budget, you could add $50 to your fun money.
Or, for every $5,000 you put into savings/investments, you could take a weekend trip.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to develop a rewards system that works for you and helps keep you motivated.
7) Update Your Budget Every Day
If you want to make budgeting fun, try updating your budget every day. I know that might sound a bit tedious, but there are actually quite a few benefits to this approach:
- It won’t take so much time to log your expenses – By updating your budget every single day, you’ll only have to log a few transactions. This is much easier (and less time-consuming) than waiting until the end of the month to enter all your expenses.
- You’ll catch problems early – When you update your budget daily, it’s easier to catch problems early (before they spiral out of control) and make adjustments to get back on track.
- You’ll stay more motivated – When you see your progress every day, it’s easier to stay motivated and stick with your budget.
- You’ll gain a better understanding of your spending patterns – When you update your budget every day, you’ll start to see patterns in your spending. From overspending on weekends to dining out a little too often, you’ll be able to spot trends and make proactive changes to improve your finances.
- You’ll know where your finances stand – By updating your budget every day, you’ll always know exactly where your finances stand–down to the dollar. This kind of control will make your life much easier, and the whole budgeting process more enjoyable.
8) Use A Visual Progress Tracker
Having a visual representation of your financial progress is one of the best ways to make budgeting fun.
It’s a lot easier (and more satisfying) to see your progress when it’s right in front of you, and it can help keep you motivated to stick with your budget.
There are tons of ways you can accomplish this. For instance, you can create a color-in progress tracker that you, well, color in every time you deposit money into your savings account.
Or, you could create a spreadsheet that charts your progress in a line graph or pie chart.
Whatever method you choose, the key is to make sure it’s something you’ll actually use and see on a daily basis.
9) Use A Budgeting App
If you’re not a fan of the traditional pen-and-paper budget, there’s no need to force yourself to use it.
With technology today, there are all sorts of budgeting apps available that can make the process more fun and efficient.
From Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB) to, our personal favorite, EveryDollar, there are plenty of budgeting options out there for you to try.
10) Create Your Own Budget Spreadsheet
If you’re a nerd (like me), then one of the best ways to make budgeting more fun is to create your own souped-up budgeting spreadsheet.
Not only is this a great way to take control of your finances, but it can also be a fun (and challenging) project.
What’s more fun than opening a spreadsheet full of functions, scripts (or macros for you Excel fans out there), and charts that update on the fly? It’s just so satisfying!
11) Pay Off Your Consumer Debt
Debt is one of the biggest burdens you can carry in your financial life. And if we’re being fully honest, it can make budgeting a major drag.
It’s just so defeating to earn a paycheck and then have to turn around and send it out the door to various monthly payments.
Beyond that, it doesn’t make budgeting very much fun when you have to watch those payments devour your monthly financial margin.
With that in mind, if you want budgeting to be a more enjoyable process, you should work hard to pay off all your consumer debt.
Not only will it allow you more room for saving and investing, but it will reduce the number of financial obligations you have to keep track of throughout the month.
12) Boost Your Income With A Side Hustle
Another great way to make budgeting more fun is to increase the amount of income you have rolling in each month.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to have more money to work with each month?
One of the best ways to do this is to start a side hustle.
Not only will it give you extra cash to play around with in your budget, but it can also help you reach your financial goals faster.
If you ask me, that’s about as fun as personal finance can get!
13) Give Your Budget Enough Time To Work
One of the hardest parts about budgeting is that it can take a few months to start seeing good results.
Because of this, many new budgeters get overwhelmed and quit before their budget has had enough time to work its magic. And when that’s the only kind of experience you have with budgeting, it’s easy to see budgeting in a pretty negative light.
For that reason, if you want budgeting to be more fun, you need to stick with it for a long time. And when I say long time, what I mean is…the rest of your life!
Over the course of time, you will get better at it and your finances will greatly improve. And when you start to see the good results of your budget, it will be a lot more fun.
Final Thoughts On How To Make Budgeting Fun
Budgeting doesn’t have to be a drag.
With a little bit of creativity and determination, you can make budgeting an enjoyable process. And when you do, you’ll be amazed at the kind of results it can help you achieve.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start budgeting!
Do you have any other ways to make budgeting more fun? Let us know in the comments.