Running a marathon is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Marathon runners learn to maintain a steady pace, to block out everything except the task of running and to ignore the signals from their body telling them to stop moving.
The same holds true for a spending plan. Taking control of your spending in order to stabilize your finances isn’t a short-term solution; it’s a long-term challenge that can occasionally test your resolve.
Here are 4 tips to help you keep your pace and make it to the finish line.
1. Remind Yourself of the Why
When you’re tempted to drift off your spending plan, remind yourself of the why. Let’s assume your goal is to be debt free by a certain date. Keep a tally of your current debt and compare it to your debt six months or a year ago. When you see those numbers falling, you’ll remember that your actions have positive results.
2. Update Your Plan
Maybe you’ve been on the plan for six months and you feel like you’re falling into bad habits again. Maybe your financial situation has changed for the better and you find that you have money burning a hole in your pocket. If that happens, go back to your plan and make some adjustments. Maybe you need to look for more savings in your budget, or maybe you can take advantage of an increase in salary to pay off more debt.
3. Look for Creative Ways to Save
When you created your budget, you probably looked for ways to save money. Maybe there are ways you haven’t discovered yet. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, make it a challenge.
4. Allow Yourself Some Fun
Being on a budget doesn’t mean giving up everything enjoyable. Instead, work out how to save up for special events while still staying in your budget. Follow the 50/50 rule. For every extra dollar you’re able to save, half can go to your emergency fund or to pay down your debt, and the other half can be set aside for something special.
Not only does this help you save, it also gives you a greater sense of control over what you spend and when.