December 7, 2010, 5:00 am

How To Instantly Increase Your Motivation For Sticking to Your Budget?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Assets and Net Worth
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Did you abandon your budget last month… AGAIN?!?

How can you gain the discipline to achieve your personal finance goals?

It’s easy; Reward yourself regularly!

This is very important, very insightful, very potent stuff.

Here’s what you need to do.

First, grab a piece of paper and a pen.

Seriously,… go get it right now!

I don’t care where you are, work, home or school.  Go grab a blank piece of paper, and a pen and come back.  I will still be here.

Don’t be one of the slacker 90% who will just casually read this without doing the exercise, and then go on making the same mistakes they’ve made for years.

I promise that if you just take 2 minutes to do this, it will help you reach your goals.  You won’t be able to resist getting better, it’s human nature!

Now, on this piece of paper make a list of possible rewards for yourself from very inexpensive to expensive.

Include little things that might make you happy, and also big things that might make you happy.

Write down as many things as you can think of, it could be 10 things or it could be 100 things.

Don’t underestimate simple things that you might enjoy.  Write them all down.

It could be a new music CD, a movie on DVD, just going out for lunch at Five Guys, or it could be going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant, even buying yourself a $45 bottle of champagne.

Make a list of those basic things too.

It could also be something more expensive like a Gibson Les Paul guitar, a new car, or a trip to the Virgin Islands.

Create a list of a lot of different rewards ranging in value.  Write down as many things as you can think of in a few minutes.

Now what you need to start to do is after you review your monthly spending and stick to your budget you need to reward yourself.

This starts to create positive feedback for your mind.

“Hey, I stuck to my plan and as a result my life became better in some way, even if just a little bit.  I am proud of myself.”

It’s very, very powerful.

Anytime I stick to my plan for a few months I reward myself.

It makes a really big difference.

Then, do something nice for yourself.

Go out and say clearly, “Tonight, I’m going to go out and get that new CD I’ve wanted to buy just because I stayed within my budget for the last two, three, or six months.”

Every time you listen to that CD it’s going to sound and feel much better because it is now connected with you making the right decisions.

It’s fun!

It also helps reinforce in your mind that behaving with discipline and creating good habits equals a better life… and a bigger bank account!

What are some of the silly little pleasures on your reward list?  Let me know in the comments below and I’ll share some of mine later today!

Meet the Author – James Fowlkes

James Fowlkes is a writer and investor extraordinaire. He teaches readers how to make more money investing and manage their finances. @

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TheFinancialBlogger, Harriet Fernandes. Harriet Fernandes said: How To Instantly Increase Your Motivation For Sticking to Your Budget? […]

In the New Year my spousal unit and I are re-starting our budget. Several large expenses slammed us just as we were starting our last attempt. Looking forward to success I hope to reward myself with small items like tools for the garage and Whisky. A big item I would like is a Digital SLR camera and a nice entry level lens for Wildlife Photography. Good Luck with the Budgets Everyone!

Writing goals down make a huge difference for me. A big item I’m saving for is a nice 40mm sigma lens for my Canon. 🙂
My discretionary spending budget has a bit of room so I save up toward the lens every month.
It’s slow, but I’m almost there. If I can just find it on sale….

Cool, JP. Thanks for reading. A Digital SLR camera is on my list too!!!

James, Props to you! I couldn’t agree more. I like the simple style.

Good practical advice that anyone can put into practice.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roger Wohlner, CFP®, Barbara Friedberg. Barbara Friedberg said: How To Instantly Increase Your Motivation For Sticking to Your Budget? […]

I’m gonna be making a budget for the new year – with a new addition to the family and expenses starting to add up this will help motivate me to stick to it… I love the idea of rewarding yourself with something really worth it – for me it’ll probably be clothes in the form of a skirt or sweater 😉

Hey James, what a smart post! I’m definitely one who follows the budget for a month or two, then totally takes it for granted, stops doing it, and then wonders how things went to hell in a handbasket 😛

For rewards, buying TV shows from iTunes is a guilty pleasure. I don’t watch real-time TV, so they’re a real treat. Also: audiobooks, and ebooks.

And I already have wishlists of all of these at Audible and Amazon! I’d better go print ’em out…

Hey James, I liked your post. Great idea of rewarding yourself. I kind of do that, but never put it down on paper. Now it makes it more concrete. Thanks! May I also suggest making a mini budget to obtain your reward? My current wishlist is tickets to an upcoming concert, dinner at my favorite restaurant, a nice flat panel tv, and my next vacation!

@Roger and @Barb Thanks for the feedback!

@Toona Congrats on the new addition to the family. I can’t wait to meet him!

@Crystal Not watching real-time TV is sooo key for productivity. Great stuff!

Way to go, James! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great tips. I can see myself sipping a Margarita as I sit here in the record cold!

Nice post James! This is a great tip–I am really great at getting things done when I have a carrot dangling in front of my nose.

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I tend to skip making a list of the small things. I know that you are supposed to record them but I always figure its just a few backs.

[…] Financial Blogger has a guest post that shows (succintly) how to instantly increase motivation for sticking to a […]

Writing down goals makes them real and you become accountable….. Great motivation.