Stop trying to make it fun. Become a professional instead.
If you are above 18, then you really should stop trying to find fun ways to budget, fun ways to save, fun ways to invest. Dealing with your finances isn’t a game. It isn’t supposed to be fun or pretty or cute! You’ll probably never get very far, by following fun ways to handle your finances. At least, I seriously doubt it and since this is my personal online space, I’m allowed to say it!
You are not playing with Monopoly money, you are dealing with hard earn cash.
If you need it to be cute, to handle your finances, you probably should ask yourself why.
If you need to sprinkle confetti every time you save 10 or 100 $/€ or which ever currency you use, you probably should reconsider your money mindset.
Don’t get distracted!
Have you ever seen companies’ financial statements? Boring standardized presentation. No rainbow, fairy dust, flowers or smileys? Just information.
Honestly, it is already time consuming enough, just to keep good track of one spending, without adding the time it takes to colour everything, to make it pretty.
Needless to say that most of the influencers who want you to do that, are probably doing it to sell you their stickers, their tracking tables or something. You don’t need these. You certainly don’t need to save on your utility bills, to spend such money on stickers!
It’s a distraction. It’s a way to not take your finances seriously.
What you should do instead? Become a financial ninja!
Become a financial ninja, make it a priority, study various topics, read and read some more. Learn and learn some more.
It isn’t supposed to be fun to follow your budget, to invest or to fill up forms online or with your bank for your various accounts. It should however make you feel empowered. It should make you feel like a grown up who knows their sh@t, even if you still have a lot to learn.
Dealing with your tax declarations isn’t fun either! Well almost as fun as a tooth extraction if you ask me and considering how much I hate going to the dentist, that says a lot about how I feel about tax filing!
However, when sending all the paper work to my accountant, I definitely feel like a grown-up! When planning my next financial moves for the year, I feel like a warrior!
Implement things slowly, in a sustainable way
You probably won’t cut your budget in half without being miserable. So reduce it by 10% for a certain amount of time, and then a further 10% and so on.
Do start putting the money you saved to good use asap. I believe tax efficient savings and tax deductible investment should be first while obviously an emergency type of fund, a f@ck off fund or however you want to call it is also a must.
Little by little build your investments portfolio. As you learn, you’ll get more confident. As you do along, you’ll feel better about it.
Indeed, it can be really scary to send money out of your saving account to whichever investment bank / platform you use, uncertain of what could happen to it or if you’ll ever see such money again or else.
Why should you take it slow?
There are a couple reasons:
Understand that every cut to your budget has a consequence on your lifestyle
If you decide to stop getting your morning coffee on the go, it doesn’t mean you stop drinking coffee, it probably means you’ll make coffee at home and have a good insulated travel mug to carry it.
If you decide to cut out on your take outs, then it will probably mean more home cooked meals.
If you decide to to cut on your utility bills, it will probably mean shorter showers.
With these examples you see that you may need to purchase a coffee making devise, a skillet and maybe a timer for your shower!
Trying to change everything at once is too hard
Maybe not for you?! Maybe you have an incredible amount of willpower and I admire that.
I know I don’t. So when I want to change something, I usually have to take baby steps and ‘force’ myself for a while. Until it becomes my new norm.
This is my usual process – Take it slow and build on strong foundations.
This works for budget cuts, new types of investments, new income lines management.
If you are familiar with my online space then you may recall something that doesn’t match what I’m saying here. My year long no-buy challenge! Yes I did that but that this isn’t my usual way of handling things. Honestly, when looking back, I realized that it was not just a no-buy challenge, it was a personal challenge, a test of my will power, a step toward a different life.
Although I’m really glad I did such a challenge, I remain convinced that taking it slow is often a better choice.
Set financial goals and celebrate your milestones!
Once more, this is a ‘new me’ talking! The gal who dislikes the word ‘goal’ is gone on vacation very far away! I hope she doesn’t return but we shall see.
Anyway, here we are. Me writing that one should set financial goals!
There is one area that you can control and it is how much you spend so do start there.
How much you earn is usually more difficult to change, as it includes third parties, like your boss or your bank for your investments. Sure you can negotiate a raise but you never know if you’ll get it. You can change job if needed of course. You can try to build another income stream but you’ll never know in advance if it’s going to work.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try. I’m just saying you should start where you have full control and then work on other areas of your life.
And yes, celebrate your achievements! Not necessarily by spending money! There are other ways to celebrate.
With time, you will find it “fun” to handle your finances
Beware that it’s the kind of “fun” most people don’t understand. The kind of fun, Sheldon Cooper has when dealing with theoretical physics! Going maybe a bit too far here but you get the point!