Let’s face it, budgeting isn’t fun, and living a frugal lifestyle can be exhausting. I’m with you on that one. But the silver lining is that is it relieves you of financial stress and worries that are inherently exhausting. So, living a frugal lifestyle with a lean budget for a period certainly outweighs living a financially stressful life for the unforeseeable future.
Budgeting burnout is a real hurdle most people face, whether early on or further down the road in their budget. It’s unavoidable, particularly for the people who made drastic changes to their lifestyle as a means of reaching their financial goals. I compiled a list of creative and simple ways to incorporate into your life to give you that well-needed recharge and to keep you on track.
1) Take Advantage of Technology
Financial management and budgeting apps are in such high demand that app developers are waging wars over who will make the next best one. Hence, there is no shortage of budgeting apps which means you can find one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Suppose you’re utilizing a manual budgeting system; the best way to introduce a budgeting app is to find which one works best for you. From here, you will sign yourself up and transfer all your data into it. Since you’re already on a budget, this transition will be seamless.
Almost all budgeting apps come equipped with the ability to import all your banking transaction information into their database. Doing this saves you a lot of time, and the best part is, it does all the work for you. It can categorize your spending habits and inform you of problematic spending areas. Furthermore, you can set alerts to notify you when you’re overspending and going over budgets in each category.
Directly after inputting your monthly or daily transaction information, it will generate a personalized summary of your progress and any shortcomings. Moreover, many apps will even give you tips on how and where you can improve.
The best part is that they’re fast and efficient. We live in a time where we demand immediate results, so seeing our progress displayed just by inputting a few numbers into an app is a sure way to keep you motivated. Doing this saves you plenty of time, reducing your chances of becoming burnt out.
Think about why most people give up on a workout and diet routine. They don’t see immediate results, therefore, the output doesn’t seem worth it. The same goes for a budget!
A few excellent apps you might want to consider are:
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)
- Goodbudget ( This app is designed specifically for envelope budgeting)
There are many more to choose from, but these are among many of the top-rated.
2) Always Pay Yourself First
Setting up budgets that restrict you from any leisure or personal spending money is one of the first mistakes you can make. This is because it’s unrealistic, and naturally, it won’t last.
The reverse budgeting method is a system most budgets should implement because it means paying yourself first. When you receive your salary, the first thing to do is set aside a predetermined amount reserved for your personal needs, such as leisure, entertainment, or miscellaneous. Before adopting this method into your current budgeting plan, you should do one thing. Run your numbers and determine how much you can afford without it interfering with your savings and debt goals.
When you break down your expenditures, it’s important to remember the 50/30/20 rule. It’s an excellent system designed to proportionally divide your expenses, debt payments, and savings. By applying this method, you should allocate no more than 30% of your net income to “wants.” This could include leisure, entertainment, eating out, shopping, and so on. If you’re not already doing this because your budget is very lean, keep in mind that don’t need to utilize the complete 30%. In fact, you can go as low as you can but make sure you’re paying yourself first. If your budget allows for you to spend only 10% of your monthly net income on yourself, you should utilize it.
Doing this will prevent burnout because you’re still allowing yourself to engage in fun activities and do a little bit of shopping. Remember, we don’t work only to pay our bills.
3) Revisit Your Goals
Ask yourself if your goals are still relevant and needed. Depending on how long a budget lasts, we may become accustomed to allocating money specifically into their designated categories. In turn, we forget that periodic adjustments are often required. Suppose you’ve been budgeting for some time and your financial situation has improved significantly. It could be a good time to shuffle your finances. Below are a few things to consider.
Are Your Goals Realistic?
While we encourage challenging yourself to reach your goals as quickly as possible, it might be best to tweak them slightly if you realize your goal(s) are not realistic and don’t comfortably fit into your budget.
Suppose you’re working toward four financial goals;
- Pay down credit card No. 1
- Pay down credit card No. 2
- Pay down a line of credit
- Save X amount for a new car.
If you have very little money left over after you get paid each month after paying into your goal accounts, you may need to make a change. It could be best to focus on one or two goals at a time rather than trying to tackle them all together. Remember, according to the well-established 50-30-20 rule, as much as 20% of your monthly net income should go toward your debt and savings. You should increase that percentage when and if you can afford it. If you’re struggling to survive because more than 20% is being allocated to debt and savings, you could face burnout which is what you want to avoid.
Below are a few strategies to help you get on track
- Work on one savings goal at a time, rather than multiple. This will free up some cash for other areas. More importantly, it won’t overwhelm you.
- Consolidate your credit card debt into one account so you save money on interest, which will free up some cash for other areas.
- If you can’t consolidate your debts, tackle one at a time while making the minimum payment on the others. You can choose to start paying down the smallest balance card first, known as the snowball effect. Alternatively, you can begin with the card with the highest interest, known as the avalanche method.
Making regular adjustments to your budget is necessary to prevent burnout while ensuring realistic goals. If your salary decreases or you accumulate more monthly bills, chances are you will need to revisit your budget to make the appropriate adjustments. Remember, you’re far more likely to give up when you become burnt out, and unaddressed or overwhelming burnout can lead to failed goals.
If you’re struggling to adjust your budget or to make it fit your lifestyle, this article is an excellent resource to help you make necessary changes.
Are Your Goals Still Relevant?
It’s not uncommon for our priorities and goals in life to change, and that’s why it’s important to revisit them periodically. Take the time to analyze what you’re budgeting for and if they’re still relevant to your life.
Suppose you’re saving money for a large purchase such as a dream vacation, a new vehicle, your kid’s college tuition, and so on. If your life circumstances have changed and you no longer need to save as much, or the goal is no longer needed, that would render it irrelevant.
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed you reached milestones within a goal, and the most recent milestone will suffice, then you’ve reached your goal.
Consider This example
Suppose you’re saving for your child’s college tuition, which you estimated will cost $20,000. A lot can change from the time you begin saving until your child is ready to start college. Now suppose you’ve saved an ample amount of your estimated total and you learn that your child had been awarded scholarships and bursaries. Your $20,000 goal is no longer relevant, as a lesser amount will suffice. Always remember to revisit your long-term goals so you can make the appropriate adjustments and avoid burnout and boredom.
If you’re saving for your child’s tuition, let’s take the time to congratulate you for working toward a challenging goal. It isn’t easy for many Canadian parents and caretakers to add this to their budget. According to StatsCan, in 2020, just over two-thirds (69%) of Canadian children under 18 had savings set aside for their postsecondary education. Among the 31% of Canadian children without postsecondary savings, the main reason cited by their parents was that they did not have enough money.
So, when you feel like you’re on the verge of burnout, remember that you are achieving a goal that your fellow Canadian’s would love to have the financial ability to do.
4) Always Remember Your “Why”
I saved the best for last because I believe this tip holds so much value. Despite what you’re working toward in life, be it financial goals, health improvement, education completion, or learning a new language, mindset is more powerful than anything else that goes into it.
When you feel overcome with financial burnout, take a break to relax. Relaxation will help clear your mind making it easier to remember why you’re budgeting in the first place. When negative and exhausting emotions cloud our minds, a typical response is to give up because it gives us a sense of relief-humans prefer to be comfortable. But remember that temporary relief will often lead to failed goals.
Since I can appreciate it’s much easier said than done to stay inspired during burnout, I compiled a list of things you can try to help spark your motivation and stay focused;
Join online communities
Facebook is an excellent resource to join a community of like-minded budgeters. Join a group that appeals to you and use it as a means of obtaining new information, listening to anecdotal stories, and pulling motivation. Regularly talking about your goal will keep you reminded of your why.
Listen to podcasts
So many people who’ve successfully budgeted their way to financial freedom have taken the high road and started podcasts to teach their followers about how they did it. This is another excellent way to gather advice and inspiration to overcome burnout. If many people before you have done it, so can you.
Turn your budget into a family affair
If you have a partner and even children, it could help you to include them in the budget. Use them as motivation and to keep you accountable. Two or more is always better than one, and moral support can benefit burnout.
To sum up, burnout is real, and it’s powerful enough to destroy any goals you have in place. Try your best not to give up if you’re already on a linear path to succeeding in your financial journey. The strategies I offered above are not meant to be an easy and guaranteed fix; instead, they are intended to inspire you to stay focused and help you push through the difficult times.