If budgeting is one of those words that create instant stress and anxiety in your mind, then join the crowd. The *2021 FP Canada Financial Stress Index found that about 38% of Canadians say money is the most stressful thing in their life. What if money didn’t have to be so frustrating? Here are 5 strategies to help minimize the overwhelming struggle that so many people associate with budgeting.
Strategy #1: Change your viewpoint
A primary reason people become so stressed over budgets is that they are looking at it all wrong. If you view a budget as a necessary evil that squeezes the fun out of your life each month, it will become your enemy. Instead, approach budgeting from the perspective that it is a valuable tool that helps you reach your financial goals.
Strategy #2: Give yourself some wiggle room
A budget is a plan, and all good plans allow for some flexibility. Obviously, you can’t wake up each day and spend whatever you want, but you should be able to give yourself some grace when life costs a little more than you originally thought. By allowing yourself some adjustments, budgets become less stressful and more of a useful tool in money management.
Strategy #3: Be accountable to someone
Have you ever noticed how things in life just work better when you have someone to keep you focused and motivated? Budgeting is no different. By engaging with an accountability partner, it is easier to stay on track with your spending and develop good financial habits.
Strategy #4: Review budget history weekly
Author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said: “You can't really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” This is immensely true with a budget. By reviewing your budget history, you gain insight and understanding into where your money went last week. This makes it easier to see what small changes need to be made for greater success this week.
Strategy #5: Celebrate progress and wins
“Motivation momentum” is often gained when we allow ourselves to enjoy small moments of success along the way. By giving yourself permission to celebrate when you have an under-budget day or progress-filled week, it creates a mindset of achievement, not of stress. Rewards don’t have to be expensive or even related to money at all. Sometimes just a note to remind yourself that you did it, or a text to tell a friend about your win is huge.
The Bottom Line
Your money and your budget will either create stress and anxiety in your life, or it will be a source of security and stability for your future. Remember that statistic that said 38% of Canadians view money as their primary stressor? Well, here is another one for you. The same survey shows that:
73% of Canadians who work with a financial planner feel more hopeful about their money situation and financial future than they did a year ago.
Why? Because they decided that they would change their budgeting mindset and begin making money work for them instead of against them. To that point, at CleveDoesMore the best part of our job is helping people make informed choices to minimize their risk while building equity and wealth for their future. That includes helping you come up with a low-stress budget that works for your situation.
*2021 Financial Stress Index (A survey conducted by Leger on behalf of FP Canada)