How To Make Budgeting Fun For Creatives

How to Make Budgeting Fun for Creatives


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. 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!


  1. It’s funny I’m a creative type, but oddly enough I love my very boring excel spreadsheet. lol! Go figure. I love vision boards in general though. They are a fun way to “see’ your goals.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Silencing Your CriticsMy Profile

    • Tonya maybe you are little right brained AND a little left brained too. Sounds like you can utilize the best of both worlds.

  2. I am a HUGE fan of the vision board! For my clients who have some big savings goals and things they want to accomplish, I tell them to set up a Pinterest board for their goals and visit it frequently as a reminder as to why they are making tough money choices everyday. Having a visualization of your goals is incredibly helpful.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Down to the BasementMy Profile

    • I think that’s great advice to give your clients. It is so easy to get off track when it comes to savings. Nothing like having visual reminders of what those savings will get you if you just keep chugging along on your goals.

  3. I truly enjoy all of these tips above. I need to see it and view it to keep reminding me. It has been extremely helpful to us for many years.
    Brit recently posted…25 Ways To Save Money For ChristmasMy Profile

    • I totally understand – budget out of sight…out of mind! I’m definitely the type that need the visuals to keep me focused : )

  4. I love creating my super colorful budget 🙂 I’m a visual person, so it does help. I haven’t created a vision board, but that’s something I may try in the future. I know people love those things.

  5. I’ve been thinking about making a vision board lately! The idea of it keeps popping up in front of me. I should take that as a sign!
    Kara recently posted…Inexpensive Halloween DecorationsMy Profile

  6. I love the vision board! I think that would be perfect for us to make as a family so that we would always have visual reminders of what we’re working towards. Great ideas!
    Lauren recently posted…My Birthday + 7 Things About MeMy Profile

    • I would really like to make one too.. especially after checking them out on Pinterest. Hello craft night : )

  7. I like the “visually appealing” spreadsheet idea. I work in spreadsheets all day at work and I always am trying to make them more visually appealing. Ironically, my income/expense tracking file is pretty ugly, but the pivot table is where all the value is anyway.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to Get Rich: Side Hustles and StartupsMy Profile

    • Yeah, I think for me, sometimes a well designed and neat spreadsheet is just more fun to work with than something that looks just thrown together in 5 minutes.

  8. I love excel spreadsheets! Formatting them beautifully is honestly fun for me :). They are such powerful little tools and I also think they’re pretty straightforward to use, once you get the hang of it.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…September 2014 ExpendituresMy Profile

  9. Smart tips, Liz!!! We do lots with vision boards and spreadsheets. The creative side in me has to have something tangible and wonderful to look at in order to keep me on track with my goals. 🙂
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…October Challenge: Spend Less, Eat WellMy Profile

  10. These are all great tips Liz! I love that idea of designing a beautiful spreadsheet, right now I’m using a mobile application to make sure that I’m still on the right track of budgets.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…Side hustle ideas, part 7My Profile

  11. I love the vision board idea but have yet to create one. I use an Excel spreadsheet but with a lot of colours 🙂 I like working with the formulas for some reason!
    Kassandra recently posted…I’m A Hustler, Baby!My Profile

    • That’s awesome Kassandra! I know sometimes I like doing really creative work and other times I love working on really analytical and formula driven work. It’s all about balance!

  12. I and my wife made a vision board, which is in a big picture frame, about our plans like everything from the number of kids to finances. Actually, it really has helped us sustain that vision and attain most of it sooner than expected. We really put in so much creativity to make it more appealing and more personal.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Three Garden Features That Could Improve Your PropertyMy Profile

  13. Some of these ideas are great! Although I just hope people continue to utilise them once all the creative works are finished.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Three Garden Features That Could Improve Your PropertyMy Profile

  14. These are great tips! I love the idea of making this stuff fun for creatives! My friend runs a blog specifically for creatives, so I’ll tweet this article to him and let him check it out!
    Kalen Bruce recently posted…20 Foundational Financial Principles You Can Live ByMy Profile

  15. I’m pretty creative but my budget itself is super boring! I just use pen and paper- no frills! =/ But hey, at least isn’t working.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Club Thrifty October Budget Breakdown and Blog UpdatesMy Profile

  16. I love the vision board idea. That would be an awesome way to keep myself motivated! Gonna try it!

  17. I love your idea of a vision board! It’s so important to keep your focus especially during those difficult budgeting months! We’re also in the process of getting rid of my student loan debt – ugh, those are awful! Love this post, such great inspiration! 🙂
    Jessi Fearon (@TheBudgetMama) recently posted…One Simple Trick to Make Sticking to a Budget EasierMy Profile

  18. Treat yourself! I think this is the most important piece! When we were getting out of debt, we each got an “allowance.” We gave ourselves 20.00 each paycheck, so we had 40.00 a month to do whatever we wanted. We could buy clothes (cheap clothes!) junk food, movies, anything we wanted, no questions asked. It made budgeting and staying committed so much easier in the long run.

  19. I love this list! I am definitely a creative, and all of these visuals would benefit me. Especially the vision board, and the debt thermometer. I’ve never thought of that last one. Will have to try it out. Thanks!
    Traci recently posted…Sweetest DayMy Profile

  20. Visual tools are my favorite. Their all good. You just prompted me to make a visual for the honeymoon to Australia that Mrs. MBG and I are taking October 2016. It includes a map with ten $1,000 waypoints.