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How To Take The Guilt Out Of Spending

How To Take The Guilt Out Of Spending

If you're used to the freedom of spending without a plan, budgeting can feel restrictive and boring. But if you've felt guilty about overspending, a budget is a great way to get organized, stay on track with your goals, and set yourself up for financial success. It can even be fun! With a few simple tweaks, budgeting can become a rewarding and enjoyable experience that helps you stay on top of your finances and takes away the guilt. From setting up a budget to tracking your spending, here are some tips to help make budgeting fun.

Establish Your Goals
Before you jump into your spending, budgeting, and expenses, you'll want to establish your goals. The first step in setting goals is knowing what you want. The second step is recognizing how you feel about your ability to achieve that goal because if you say to yourself, "I can’t stick to a budget," you won't. Think about why you want to go through this exercise. Your goals may be short-term and long-term. For example, if you have a car payment and want to pay it off as quickly as possible, setting a goal for how much you want to pay extra each month will help keep you motivated and on track. Establishing your goals will also help you determine how much you can spend on different categories each month and make sure you don't overspend in a category that you don't have enough money to cover.

Calculate Your Income
If you're new to budgeting and have never tracked your spending before, you'll first want to calculate your income. How much are you bringing in each month? Where does that money come from? Is it enough to cover your expenses and financial goals, plus a little extra for savings? Calculating your income and how much you're bringing in each month will help you determine how much you can spend each month without going over budget. With a budget, you can quickly see whether you're overspending in certain categories and adjust accordingly. Plus, you'll be able to see how much you have left for savings each month, giving you the freedom to save for big purchases and financial goals.

Fun Ways to Track Your Expenses
Tracking your spending can get boring if you're not creative. Fortunately, there are tons of different ways to track your spending and make it more fun and interactive. For example, you can code your expenses using emojis or symbols. Share the experience with your partner or friend and track your spending together. Of course, you can also track your spending using a paper notebook or using a simple template in Excel. But if you're not a fan of tracking your expenses by hand or using a spreadsheet, you can also use budgeting apps and tools. Budgeting apps, such as Mint, You Need a Budget, and Wally, make it easy to track your spending, set a budget, and reach your financial goals. Plus, many budgeting apps allow you to link your bank account and see your current expenditures, making tracking your spending, setting a budget, and reaching your financial goals even easier. If you'd rather not track your spending with an app, you can still use tools to help you stay on track with your spending and reach your financial goals. For example, you can use a notebook or scrapbook to track your spending and set a budget, or you can use tools such as colorful index cards (one for each spending category) or a spending jar. These tools are helpful if you prefer to keep things simple, prefer to avoid using apps and online tools, or want to get creative with how you track your spending.

Reward Yourself for Sticking to Your Budget
To help keep you motivated, encourage you to stick to your budget, reach your financial goals, and make the process more fun, reward yourself for not overspending. Your reward might be eating out, seeing a show, or choosing from 100 Frugal Joys listed in Ashely Feinstein Gerstley's 30-Day Money Cleanse. You can also reward yourself for staying on top of your finances each month by giving yourself an allowance and letting yourself spend it however you want. 

Once you've been tracking your spending and comparing it to your budget for a few weeks or months, you might feel tempted to stop paying attention, especially if you pay off your credit card or other debt consistently and save regularly. To stay on track, make a monthly appointment with yourself to reevaluate how you're doing. These regular reminders will help you stay on track with your budget and keep the spending guilt away.

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