How to Stick With a Budget When Life Gets Hard
How to stay the course when life gets hard
Example: Say your baby is learning how to walk and by some miracle, your baby can talk like a 5 year old. We’re just pretending. Stick with me. As your baby is learning how to walk, he complains that he keeps falling down every time he takes a step or two. He continues to say that it is too hard and he doesn’t want to try anymore.
As his parent, do you allow him to quit? Do you tell him that you know it is hard and that he should stop trying?
No, because you know how this is going to play out. You know that with encouragement from you and with constant time and practice, his legs will get stronger, his balance will get better, and he’ll learn to walk. With time, it becomes second nature. He won’t even have to think about which foot to use first when he stands up. It’ll just come naturally.
We can use the same example when it comes to budgeting. When you first start out doing a budget, it won’t come naturally to you. You WILL have things that you’ll forget to put in your budget. Things like school supplies and field trips.
One of the biggest mistakes we made was calculating how much we needed for groceries every month. We had previously been spending about $800 a month, we could live off of $200 right? Nope, that was a budget buster for sure.
You’ll have to move money from one category to another to make it fit just right. It usually takes about three months until you get pretty comfortable with your budget.
So following our baby example, the key is to be consistent and keep doing it. Give yourself grace and know that the more you keep working at it, the more confident you’ll become. For us, we’ve been doing a budget for over 5 years now and it’s like second nature to us. There’s not a lot we need to change every month because our expenses are pretty much the same every month.
I’m going to give you three tips on how you can stay motivated and focused on a long debt-free journey
- FIND YOUR TRIBE
You need to find people who will support you on this journey. People who understand where you are now, where you are going, and where you will be in the next 3 – 5 years. For us, we didn’t have people locally that were on a debt-free journey like us. We would watch other influencers on You Tube that were on a similar journey. It kept us motivated and encouraged to keep going because we knew they were in the trenches with us.
We also found people who were ahead of us. We talked to real life normal couples who were good with their finances and asked them for advice. They gave us a lot of encouragement and told us that as long as we stuck to a plan and didn’t give up, we would get there too.
- BE SILENT AROUND THE NEGATIVE PEOPLE
When you have a goal, especially a big goal like paying off a huge amount of debt, you will encounter negative people who will try to either bring you down or sway you from reaching your goals.
When we told other people what we were doing, some of them were happy for us. But then we had the negative responses.
- Oh you know the student loan rate is so low. Why don’t you use that money to buy a house?
- You’ll always have debt. It’s just how it is. You need to make your money work for you by investing it.
We understood where they were coming from so you know what we did? We nodded, smiled, and changed the subject. We were silent about it. We didn’t talk about it ever again.
Allow the negative responses to marinate in your mind, you will start to believe it. You’ll make excuses. Yeah they are right. I should just take my time. It’s no big deal. There’s always time to pay it off.
After probably the 10th of time of hearing negative responses, we decided we were just going to keep it to ourselves. Because if we allowed them to get in our head, we would never have reached our goals.
So if you have a big goal or a big dream, surround yourself with your tribe of positive people and when you encounter a negative response, smile, nod, and move on.
- UNFOLLOW AND UNSUBSCRIBE
My motto nowadays is if I don’t see it, I don’t worry about it and I don’t think about it. I used to get daily marketing from companies who were trying to promote their latest sale. Even if I didn’t need the item, I still wanted it because it was on sale. So one day, I decided to go through all of my emails and unsubscribe to all of them. I mean if I really needed an item, all I had to do was Google that item with the word “sale” in it a whole bunch of options would come up.
Then there’s social media. This is a hard one. Everyone is posting their perfect lives: what they ate today, what they bought today, how much money they made, where they traveled last (except now.. because no one is really traveling).
There were some influencers that motivated me to do better but others just made me feel bad. Then I wanted to go out and spend money that I didn’t have just so I could post something that I bought or did.
So I just unfollowed ALL of them. Because no one needs that negativity in their life.
So to sum it up, the three tips are 1) Find your tribe 2) Write down what you are grateful for and 3) Unfollow and unsubscribe.