How to Make Budgeting Fun

How to Make Budgeting Fun from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Let’s be honest – managing personal finances is not the best fun ever. Nobody likes perusing their bank statement and realizing they have zilch to spend before the next payday. It’s also no fun when you know you have a series of deeply unfunny bills to pay in the next week. But budgeting and money management needn’t be a painful, soul-destroying slog. If you take advantage of apps, tools, and some colored pens, budgeting can actually be fun! Of course, it helps if you shift your mindset too, but we’ll cover that one later. So keep reading on how to make budgeting fun.

Track Your Spending Habits

First things first, you need to get up close and personal with your monthly spend data. It’s impossible to have a budget if you don’t have the information you need at hand. Make a date in your diary. Earmark this day as budget day. Think of it as a date, but without the prosecco and disappointment. 

On budget date day, dig out all your bank statements for the last three months. No need to print them out, although it might make life easier. 

Using a spreadsheet or pad, make a list of all your direct debits and standing orders, Include the date, amount, and a brief description. Next write down a list of regular spends, such as the coffee you buy on the way to work each day or fuel for your car. Finally, note down any occasional spends, such as night’s out or birthday gifts.

When you are done, you should have three columns: essential bills, extras, and one-offs. Color code them – red for essentials, amber for extras, and green for one-off debits. 

Go through your list and see what you can remove, such as the gym membership you never, ever use. Red items are non-negotiable, as you can’t cancel your gas D/D for obvious reasons. Amber and green are where you can make savings. 

Gamify Budgeting

Take control of your budget and turn it into a game. Make a bet with yourself to see how much you can save each month. If you can make $25 worth of savings; you win a chocolate bar; $50 is a bottle of wine, and $100+ is worth a takeaway pizza. Change the rewards to suit your aspirations. This is one cool way on how to make budgeting fun.

Create a chart outlining your spending for the month ahead. Make it vibrant and colorful. Print it out and stick it on the fridge. It is so much easier to see where your finances are when you can instantly check what is due to leave your bank account on any given day. 

If your chart is dismal and you can’t see any areas to save, consider borrowing money and consolidating your debts with a loan; it might save you some money each month.

Savings are Good

Open savings accounts for different purposes. Name each account according to your savings goal, such as “mad money account” for the money you plan on using for a crazy girl’s trip to Ibiza next year, or “my sexy shoe fund” for your designer shoe habit.  Don’t forget to prioritize your “rainy day fund”, as it’s sensible to have at least three months’ worth of savings to cover unexpected bills or expenses. The sillier your account names are, the easier it will be to keep track of them. Plus, it’s amusing when you need to speak to customer service and they are forced to ask you about your “sexy shoe fund”.

Set up standing orders so money is channeled into your savings accounts as soon as you get paid. That way, you won’t miss any of it. 

Label Your Cards

Most of us have a stack of cards in our wallets. From current account debit cards to credit cards in triplicate, it’s easy to lose track of what card should be used when. A fun way to organize your cards is to stick a small label on them, to remind you not to use the card inappropriately.

For example, keep your current account for “important bills” and label the debit card associated with that account accordingly. Have a second account for Amazon and other online purchases, with a minimal overdraft. This could be your “mad money” card.

Use Budget Apps

Apps make everything money related so much more fun. When you move money around in an app, it doesn’t seem quite so boring, plus you can create sexy charts and use funky tools. The Money Dashboard app for Android and iOS devices tell you exactly how much money you could save if you did X, Y or Z. The Bean app is pretty useful too, as it flags up areas where you can find better deals. 

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a grind. Try some of these tips and see how entertaining it can be!

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