Day 3 – 7 Tips To Effectively Stick To A Budget

Welcome to Day 3 of the free Master Your Money course! While I no longer have debt after paying off my student loans, I am always striving to save more money, to save for retirement, to find financial motivation, and more. Even with how much I love saving money, every now and then it can…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: August 14, 2016

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Welcome to Day 3 of the free Master Your Money course!

While I no longer have debt after paying off my student loans, I am always striving to save more money, to save for retirement, to find financial motivation, and more.

Even with how much I love saving money, every now and then it can be easy to get unmotivated and want to SPEND ALL THE MONEY!

I’m sure I’m not alone either.

While many do choose to live a frugal life, it’s not always easy. Some have large amounts of debt to pay off, others find it hard to understand how to stick to a budget, and more.

Finding financial motivators will help you continue to work hard towards your goal, even when it seems impossible.

Without motivation, one might give up on a financial goal quite easily. This is why it’s so important to learn how to stay motivated.

Whatever your financial goal may be, there are many ways to stay motivated so that you can reach it. Here are my tips on how to stick to a budget and find financial motivation.


Make your financial goal visual.

Making your goal visual is a great way to find motivation. Having your financial goal displayed in front of you can make it that much realer, plus it’s nice to have a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.

Various ways to make your financial goal visual include:

  • Create a graphic that demonstrates your financial goal. An example of this would be if you are trying to pay off your house. You could have a picture of a house and section it into 100 pieces. Then, each time you reach a small payoff goal, you can color a piece in. I did some research and found a blog post about many other creative ways to do this on A Cultivated Nest.
  • Keep a picture of your goal on hand. Whether your goal is a vacation, an item you want, or something else, having a picture can help keep you reminded of it.
  • Start a blog. Blogging greatly helped me with my financial goals. I could easily look back to see how I was doing. Plus, I felt like I had to keep myself accountable and keep improving due to the fact that everything was public. If interested, you can start a blog for cheap with my easy tutorial.


Hang out with others who share the same financial goals as you.

Learning how to stick to a budget can be a hard task but spending time with others who share the same financial mindset as you can help.

I’m not saying you should unfriend anyone who is in a different financial spot than you, but I do think spending time with someone who you aren’t trying to Keep Up With The Joneses with can go a long way.


Read and watch financial media.

Finance is all around you and it’s really not as boring as you may think. I read something related to personal finance every day and it’s not because I have a personal finance blog – it’s because I want to!

There are different ways to stay on top of financial media. You can watch the news, listen to financial podcasts, read personal finance blogs, read financial books, and more.


Set smaller goals in between.

Setting smaller goals in between can help a person stay motivated because it will help you keep your mind on your goal. Also, smaller goals can be a nice way to challenge yourself. Making it more of a game and a competition with yourself instead of a chore can go a long way.

For example: If your overall goal is to pay off $24,000 in debt in two years, then you might want to aim for $1,000 in debt payoff each month. This seems much more attainable than the $24,000 number, and this can help you stay motivated while still challenging yourself at the same time.


Keep track of your progress.

To stay motivated with your financial goals, you should review your progress every now and then. You might want to check in daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on what type of goal you have and what personally works for you.

Keeping track of your progress is a good idea because it can tell you what you need to do in order to reach your goal, if you are behind, or if you need to make a change.

I highly recommend you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to, but 100 times better as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts, whereas does not. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, your cash flow, detailed graphs, and more.


Think about how you will feel in the end.

It can be hard to visualize the end when you’re just starting to learn how to stick to a budget.

One great way to stay motivated is to think about how you will feel later on and/or even when you’ve reached your financial goal.

How will you feel once you pay off your debt, save a certain amount of money, or reach whatever financial goal it is that you have? You should envision what your life will be like once you reach your goal, why you are trying so hard to reach it, and so on. A little daydreaming can go a long way every now and then.

For example: If your goal is debt payoff, then you may want to dream about what a debt free life would be like!


Still have fun.

Having financial goals doesn’t mean you have to be boring. You can still enjoy life, do many of the same things you usually do, and so on.

Remember to still have fun and enjoy life!

Well, that’s it for today. Tomorrow you will receive the next lesson that will teach you all about emergency funds. Stay tuned!

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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