Get motivated tips

Include Your Cash Transactions as Monthly Expenses

Every month I end up spending cash on certain things that I purchased. One of these items would be considered gasoline.

  • Using cash is one of the best budgeting tips and tricks used to lower your expenses. While my credit card company does pay me 5% to purchase gas, I still avoid using my credit card. I chose to not use it mainly for security reasons. There are other things I use cash for such as eating dinners out, paying for lunches, and some miscellaneous stores that I go to. Even when I budget by paycheck, I still account for some cash transactions with each check.
  • Not only do I find myself saving roughly 30% by using cash versus using a credit card, I am also taking additional steps to prevent credit card theft. It’s the most important simple budgeting tip when it comes to identity security. So for these expenses such as gasoline and occasional meals out, they still need to be included. You still should include them with the new monthly budget even though they are cash transactions. If you are able to reduce cash transactions, you will have money available to put towards a house down payment if your looking to buy your own place.

Add a Savings Line To Your Budget

Another one of the important budgeting tips and tricks is to save money. A common mistake that people often make is that they forget to save.  While yes, frugal living tips can get you a long way, you still have to save. You should include a separate line item within your monthly budget that allocates some of your money into savings. You can call this line item your emergency savings fund because that is exactly what it is. By making this part of your monthly expenses and saving money, you are setting money aside. This money can be used for unexpected expenses that will show up. Unexpected expenses always do show up in a household, but by planning for it this way and selling the money aside you will have it when the need arises. Your unexpected expense will be less disruptive to your monthly budget.

Make Credit Card Payments Fixed Expenses

Paying down credit card debt and balances is one of the necessary steps to building wealth. It is one of the first areas you should focus on once you have your budget template set up. Making credit card payments is a necessity when it comes to how to fix your credit yourself. By paying down your debt and eliminating that monthly expense, you are slowly building up purchasing power with your money. Think of the old saying it takes money to make money. In order to truly increase household wealth, you need to have capital available to put towards wealth building actions. That is why it is so important to make credit card payments part of your monthly budget as a fixed expense. Once that fixed monthly expense has been eliminated, you can re-purpose that money for other strategies.

Budget Conservatively For Income

Overestimating income can be a huge challenge down the road to deal with. This is one of the most important budgeting tips and tricks to use. When the income you receive falls short, you will have to make adjustments in your household budget to cover the shortfall. That is why you should use the lowest guaranteed monthly income received. If you have things like alimony that you receive, there is no guarantee that you will receive that money each month. Instead use things like a guaranteed paycheck for income from your employer. Use that income amount to plan your budget expenses around. I talk about using the lowest income amount as the strategy for how to build a budget for the self employed family.

Define Your Budget

Deciding to create a budget is a great first step in taking control of your financial life.  Equally important is the reason why you are creating a budget. People often find themselves using a budget for several reasons in their daily finances. Some of those reasons are that they are unable to build a savings or they are living paycheck to paycheck. Whether it is short-term goals, long-term goals, or other reasons, becoming aware of what they are plays an important role in defining the function of your budget. Below are reasons why to create a budget:

  • Finding a way to save more money
  • Reducing overspending on problem areas
  • Ending fights about money for couples
  • Making sure your spending reflects your goals and values
  • Breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle
  • Avoiding spending money you don’t have
  • Getting out of debt
  • Staying on track toward long-term financial goals By defining your reason for a budget you will be more inclined to stick with it. By creating a budget and using a personal finance flowchart, you will stay motivated by working towards financial goals.

Choose a Specific Goal

In Born to Win, Zig mentions the areas of goal setting and creating a well-round idea of success. Part of that comes down to knowing what you want and why you want it. Once you know “what’s in it for you” – you’ll be more likely to take action even when your motivation is low.

Have a Positive Attitude

Did you know Optimistic people tend to be more productive than their counterparts? They also tend to be more flexible, resilient and focused on others versus self-obsessing. While we all have a natural inclination towards optimism or pessimism, you can do things to promote a happy outlook.

Know You’re Awesome

I went back and forth on what to call tip 7. I want you to know self-compassion isn’t an easy way out. It’s powerful. It’s powerful to celebrate your success and to be able to practice some self-love. To hit these big goals, you’ll need time and energy. Remember, that whatever you’re going after is going to make your healthier, happier, stronger, and that is going to benefit those around you as well. Whether it’s retiring happily with your spouse or keeping up with your kiddos because you’re healthy. With that said, it’s okay to take some time for YOU. By putting yourself first, you’ll be doing everyone you love a favor. Make the time to hit your goal. Celebrate your small and large successes. Be open to taking a break or making a change if you feel like you’re burning out.

Surround Yourself With Good Influences

We all know the power of groups. Immediately I think about AA and Weight Weighters. Both have helped so many people turn their lives around. Studies have shown over and over again that a group is the great source of success and persistence. We host a healthy living group year-round with daily posts, and we also do a weekly email with tips and free meal plans. This has helped over 4,000 people get healthier! Plus, the motivation and support from them has helped me lose my own weight. You can join our group by applying for our 21 Day Challenge here. We work with every budget and goal. Having a support system can help you be kinder to yourself and stay on track after a tough day.

Make the Good Behavior Easy (And the Bad Behavior Hard)

The Harvard Business Review found that 40-45% of what we do is based on habits. I think it’s pretty scary that almost half of what we do daily is basically us on auto-pilot. Sure it’s great that we know to brush our teeth, but bad habits can take over without a thought. One way to break bad habits is to make behaviors towards your goal easy (and bad habits hard). For example, I don’t keep junk food in the house. If we have M&Ms or something, it’s in a single-serve package so I don’t eat more than a portion. I also know I will eat entirely too much if I miss a meal so I pack snacks when I go out.