Sticking to a budget can be a very tricky affair. It entails some degree of discipline and self-sacrifice, traits that are difficult to uphold. Despite this, budgeting is still an important aspect in our life. Sticking to a budget is a sure avenue to achieving financial freedom.
Jeremy Vohwinkle, former About.com guide has identified three traits you must possess if you want to create and maintain a successful budget.
A Positive Attitude
Attitude, performance and commitment go hand in hand. If you have a negative attitude towards something, your commitment towards it will be affected and this will definitely affect your performance at it.
Jeremy states that you need to go into the budgeting process with a positive attitude. If you think budgeting as a chore, or a painful sacrifice, you’ll find it is extremely difficult to stick to a budget.
You are instead advised not to think about the negative aspects of a budget, but think about the rewards. What do you stand to benefit from sticking to your budget? A budget could help you get out of debt sooner, save money plus achieve financial independence.
Think more about the benefits and less about how hard it is to maintain a budget.
You need to stay motivated throughout the period you are budgeting. Over time you will get into the habit of following your budget and it will soon become a routine. Without motivation one becomes complacent.
Jeremy suggests that you could consider rewarding yourself or even increasing your goals. You should find something that will push you to go an extra mile. If your goal is to get out of debt within a year and you are getting on well with your objective to get out of debt, you could challenge yourself to clear the debt with 8 months instead. If you manage to clear the debt, reward yourself by doing or getting yourself something you enjoy.
The feeling of accomplishing your goals is intoxicating.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Constant failure can be a demotivating factor. Jeremy notes that one of the biggest budget killers is unrealistic expectations. If you set your sight too high, you will only get discouraged if you fail to reach them.
You need set realistic goals. Start fairly small goals over short timeframes. As you achieve these goals, you will get motivated to stick to your budget and achieve greater objectives.