You know that you need to do better with your personal finances. But, the thought of it’s a drag. On the other hand, you know that your bad habits will catch up with you. (Maybe they already have.) You’re not alone in your thinking. The research and statistics bear this out. Most people are terrible with their money. Yet, it doesn’t need to stay that way. Doing better with money can actually be fun. Add that to the increased happiness from getting better results and you have quite the winning combination. But, how does a person make personal finance enjoyable? Here are five things you need to know to increase your personal finance fun factor.
Include Fun In Some Of Your Goals
Of course, you can include something fun as a reward for reaching a goal. But what about including fun as part of the goal? For instance, instead of spending your allocated restaurant dollars for the month on just any places, why not do something special? Take a look at how much money you have available for restaurant eating. Allocate a portion for something a little be more special. You can still stay within the bounds of your restaurant budget and do a little upgrade in the process. I can guarantee you the experience will be better knowing that you fit it into what you can afford for the month.
Good personal finance is not about turning things around in one day. But it is about turning things around. Part of this process should include challenging yourself. And, it can be fun! Consider this. What if you have a debt you would really like to get paid off? Challenge yourself to get it paid off by a certain date. But, here’s the twist. Give yourself an extra challenge to do five “out of the box” things to pay it off even earlier. Be creative. Here’s one idea. Give yourself five minutes to look around your house. Find something that you have not used in forever, but has some value. Then, put it on eBay or Craig’s List (or some other selling site). Sell the item and use the money to pay down the debt. Do that four more times. When you complete these five “out of the box” items, you might see that debt paid off much more quickly. Plus, you rid yourself of some clutter in the process. That sounds kinda fun.
Document What You Are Doing
There are many reasons to document what you are doing in your personal finance journey. You can learn from your mistakes, rehash your victories and enjoy a little humor. Keep a journal as you make your way toward getting better with your finances. Document those things that stand out to you at a particular moment. You will capture the ups and the downs. You will also seize the funny things. Everyone has humorous situations that happen to them. Recording them so that you don’t forget is important. Besides, it’s entertaining to go back and read what occurred: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny.
Set Fun Rewards
What’s the reason you are doing all this stuff? It’s to de-stress, have more free time, provide better for yourself and your family, those kind of things. Right now, though, it may seem like you are paying for your past with your present and your future. (And, if you have a ton of debt, you are.) But, setting fun rewards for hitting goals can help to relieve some of the pressure. At first, the fun might need to be less (or at least, less costly), but having fun rewards is important. They give you something to look forward to. They also help you take your eye off the not so enjoyable aspects of what you are doing. Everybody’s idea of fun is a little different, so be sure to set the reward that’s fun to you. Maybe it’s a day at the zoo or a weekend trip or possibly something much bigger. Depending on the size of the goal, you can decide how big the reward should be. Make sure that you plan it out, though, so you don’t cause yourself a money headache when paying for the reward.
No matter what, if you are making forward progress, celebrate! Don’t discount the need for this. Celebrating victories in your personal finance journey, even if they are small, helps to build and increase your momentum. And, momentum is important. It will help you to get over smaller humps that used to feel like mountains. At the end of a month or quarter, look back and reflect on the small changes that are starting to reap big rewards. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you have done much until you look back. And, if you made progress, do a little celebrating!
Becoming successful with personal finance may be a long process. It will have ups and downs, steps forward and steps backward. But, hanging in there to get to the finish line is important. So, include some fun in the process. It will help you to stick with it. And that takes you right to your most happy place!