Is living on a budget a chore for you! It doesn't have to be. You can put some fun into your budgeting tasks. How do you do that! Make it a game. Present yourself, and other family members, with a budget challenge and budget rewards.
I'd much prefer the easy way and let life just happen. Unfortunately, this way of life is unpredictable and not productive. Truth is, life takes planning. You can't get around it if you want to be financially successful. Living on a budget is essential if you expect to enjoy any financial peace in your life.
Why Make Living on a Budget Fun?
To remain financially independent you have to budget for life. And, life should be fun! And, living on a budget can be fun. So why not make living on a budget fun?
If you put a little excitement in your budget plan, you're more likely to stick to your budget goals and keep your budget on track. If you dread living on a budget, you will probably let tasks fall behind and possibly even give up on budgeting all together.
So, How Do You Make Living on a Budget Fun?
How can you put some excitement in your budget plan? Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Create a budget savings challenge for yourself or for the whole family. Here's an example:
Each person actively tries to save money on everything they buy and do everyday. At the end of each day, record the amount of money each person saved using money saving strategies. Say, you've budgeted some new clothing for a child, spouse, or yourself and instead of paying full price, you buy clearance items or shop at the thrift store.
Record the difference between the regular retail price and the discounted price you paid as an active savings under the individuals name.You may want to set aside this amount of money in a reward fund. You end the challenge after a designated time (a daily, weekly, or monthly challenge) in one of several ways:
Only the person who saves the most gets to keep the amount of his/her savings for themselves.
Use the accumulated savings for everyone for a family outing.
Each person gets to keep the savings they generate.
Each person earns a certain percentage of their individual savings. Say, each person gets to keep 50% of the money they save. Use the other 50% to pay down debt or help reach another budgeting goal.
Give each winner in order of largest to smallest savings amounts a certain percentage of the total savings. Say, the person who saves the most gets 40%, the second largest saver gets 30%, the next gets 20%, and the person who saves the least gets 10%. You'll have to divide it accordingly based on your family size to equal 100% of the savings.
As you can see there are several ways to address the winner's rewards. This budgeting challenge will make living on a budget fun for the whole family. No matter what the ending result, be sure to stress that when everyone chooses to save, the entire family benefits in the long run. This is especially true if you have substantial debt that need to be eliminated.
Offer yourself a reward each month that you stay within, or below, all of your budget expenses.
Give yourself a reward for each expense that you stay below budget limits.
Set a larger reward for yourself or the family to enjoy when a substantial financial goal is met.
Some goals have noticeable progressive steps towards the completion of the goal. Create rewards for milestones. For instance, if you have a goal to become debt free, you can reward yourself or the family each time a credit card is paid off. For savings goals, you may want to celebrate each time you save a certain amount (every $1000). Have a big celebration when any goal is completed. This is a great way to point out to yourself, and family members, the financial successes of living on a budget.
Create your own budget game.
Ask for ideas on ways to improve on the budget or save more money. A winning idea is obvious if it works! Winning ideas, get a reward. This is great for your budget because it is a one time reward, but your budget (and finances) continue to benefit from winning savings and budgeting ideas.
Learning games are great for kids. Create a personal finance game to get everyone involved and understanding how and why you are living on a budget. This could be as simple as a question and answer game. If I buy a pair of shoes at 20% off and the original price is $25.99, how much money will I save? Or, Name categories and subcategories for essential living expenses (for example - "Name 3 expenses that might be included in your household maintenance budget category".)
Having fun with your budget will not only keep it interesting, it is educational to other family members. They will learn the processes of budgeting. It's also a great way to point out to children what really is involved in maintaining a home and providing needs for a family. Budget or personal finance games give them a better understanding of money, what it is, and how family finances work. So, when you have to say no to that new outfit, they will better understand why. You have to prioritize your spending decisions and manage your money wisely to reach your finance goals. Have a little fun with finances to take the chore out of budgeting and personal finance planning. You may just find yourself actually enjoying living on a budget!