I bet you never thought that you would use the words “fun” and “budgeting” in the same sentence. To be honest, I never did either and it’s probably a bit of a stretch. But hear me out – I think that I know how to make budgeting fun…
Well, at least I know some ways to budgeting less boring!! 😉 Creative people usually do really well with visuals and color. Those characteristics can be hard to find in your typical budgets, and spreadsheets.
However, hopefully our 5 tips to make budgeting fun and effective for creatives will help.
How To Make Budgeting Fun – 1. Create a Vision Board
Why am I trying to budget? What is the purpose of this whole tedious process?
The purpose of budgeting is to help you reach your dreams and goals. A vision board is a visual reminder of your dreams and can act as the inspiration you need to keep working on your budget.
For example, on my vision board I have a picture of a beach because that’s where I want to go on vacation once we’re done paying off our student loans. If you consider yourself a creative person, a vision board might be the perfect tool for you. Creating a vision board is a fun project too. If you need some vision board inspiration, make sure you check out my Pinterest board.
How To Make Budgeting Fun – 2. Use A Visual To Track Your Progress
Visuals are a great tool for creative people and can make budgeting (and specifically tracking against your budget) much more fun.
They’re fun to make and help keep your financial goals at the front of your mind. You will see them everyday and they will be impossible to forget or ignore. Currently, our big goal is to pay off our student loan debt. We’ve been paying off this debt since 2009 and it’s been a long journey.
I created a Debt Payoff thermometer to help visualize our progress. It looks similar to the one above. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. You could use a thermometer template for either savings goals or debt payoff goals. The possibilities are endless. Here is a link to a free printable debt thermometer template if you would like to create your own.
How To Make Budgeting Fun – 3. Design A Beautiful Spreadsheet
Sometimes, using a spreadsheet is unavoidable. Excel is a really powerful tool if you know how to use it. I like to use Excel for creating “mini” budgets including our Christmas shopping budget and another workbook for tracking my blog income and expenses. I like using excel because not only can I track the expenses, but I can add extra details that budgeting software might not allow. For example, in my Christmas budget, I also keep track of when I mailed/delivered the package and if I have a copy of the receipt.
As a creative person, my spreadsheets have to be visually appealing if I am going to use them. A “pretty” spreadsheet helps me stay engaged. You can make professional and visually appealing spreadsheet in Excel easily. To spruce up your spreadsheet, try adding a background image, using different fonts, and color coding. You’re only limited to your creative ability.
How To Make Budgeting Fun – 4. Consider Using A Budgeting Program
Maybe using a spreadsheet isn’t working for you. Don’t worry, there’s another route you can take. Try using a budgeting program. Mint.com is free. A few other programs include Quicken and You Need A Budget (YNAB). These programs can sync with your banking accounts to make budgeting and tracking your expenses extremely efficient.
Not only can you build a budget with these programs, but they will actually create visuals for you like the one above. There’s nothing more interesting than seeing your spending/savings/debt in a visual form. It’s an incredibly powerful tool for helping you understand your finances. For this reason, I rely on Quicken to help manage our budget. I don’t know where I’d be without it!
How To Make Budgeting Fun – 5. Treat Yourself
Did you manage to track your budget this month? Yes? Congrats! It’s important to take time to reward yourself for your budgeting efforts. Budgeting isn’t easy and isn’t exactly fun. Recognize your hard work and give yourself a pat on the back. Remember: The goal is to make budgeting part of your everyday life and routine. Having a budget helps you make tricky decisions and simultaneously reach your dreams. Don’t burn yourself out. Budgeting is a process. You won’t make a perfect budget the first month you try.
Don’t give up and be proud of your hard work!