There have been times in my adult life where I’ve been kind of burnt out managing my money. For the most part, I love budgeting and looking over my money almost all the time.
There are times, though, that I just don’t want to do it. I don’t feel like entering in my receipts. I want to not have to work at managing my money.
Have you ever felt like that?
That Project at Work
There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between how you manage your money and the work you do at your job.
For example, have you ever taken on a project at work even though you had more than enough on your plate already? I’ve been there before.
There was a time when I was sort of a “Yes Man” at work. I would take on any project given to me. I wanted to do well and build my brand. While that worked, it also built my brand as a “Yes Man.”
Now, I try to take on projects that move the needle toward the future I want for me and my family and what aligns with my values.
Another problem with always taking on more projects is that your plate starts to overflow quickly. The to-do list starts to look more like a long grocery list and you start to get burnt out simply by having too much. This can happen with your budget as well.
So how do you fix the burnout?
Here are some tips you can use to avoid burning out on your budgeting.
1) Align Your Budget with Your Values
Running a budget that doesn’t align with who you are is never going to be sustainable. Plain and simple. To remedy this, create a budget that will reflect who you are, what you enjoy, and what you find important.
Think about it this way. Would you rather do something you simply have to do or would you do something you want to do?
I think most of you would say you’d rather do what you want. When you budget, if you just pick any old system and pay attention only to the numbers, it becomes something you have to do. When you align it with your values, it becomes something you want to do.
In order to align your budget with your values, start to notice what really brings you value when you spend money on it. For example, being such a big Disney fan (as I’m sure you already know), I like to spend my money on Disney related things. I set aside money specifically for this.
It aligns with my values so I don’t mind spending money on it. It also doesn’t feel like a chore saving up for a Disney World vacation instead of spending it on the latest electronic toy. It’s something I want to do.
If early retirement is something you value, you aren’t going to mind setting aside more money now rather than spending it. It’ll be something you want to do rather than have to do.
When you are doing something you want to do, you avoid the burnout because it aligns with your values.
Budgeting can feel restricting, but it’s meant to be the opposite. In its simplest form, a budget is designed to keep you from spending money on the things you don’t really want to spend money on in order to allow you to spend money on the things that you do want to spend money on.
A budget is empowering. It helps you achieve your goals, both financial and otherwise. It helps you keep your money in order so you have more freedom. A good budget should help you be you rather than restrict you to be something you’re not.
In fact, a good budget should be relatively easy to maintain if it helps you be who you are.
Have you ever wondered why diets aren’t effective for a lot of people? Diets by their very nature are a restriction. Think about the last time someone told you they were on a diet. Did they sound bummed out? What did their facial expression look like? What was the first thing you thought of when they said it?
Anytime someone tells me they are on a diet I automatically think of what a person can’t eat. And this is with something that is a GOOD thing. Getting healthy is actually a great way to directly control your finances. Diets are good things, but they have become synonymous with what you can’t do rather than what you’re trying to achieve.
Now, think about someone who might have high cholesterol and tells you that they are trying to change their lifestyle and eating habits to control it. Your first thought is no longer, “Wow, they can’t eat anything good.” Your first thought becomes, “Wow! That’s awesome! I’m excited that you’re getting healthy!”
There’s a shift in mindset on how you view it. Both are controlling the way you eat and will help you get healthy. However, the lifestyle change is no longer a restriction since the focus is on the healthy outcome.
Just like a healthy lifestyle change, a budget isn’t a restriction. It simply helps you to get to somewhere better.
Part of not feeling restricted is creating a budget that you can call your own. I ended up taking different aspects of several different budgets in order to create a budget that works for me. The result is that it’s no longer a restriction but something that gets me closer to who and where I want to be in the future.
3) Don’t Try and Do Too Much at One Time
Think for a moment back at times that you’ve had a ton to do, either at work or at home. How did you feel? I don’t know about you, but I feel overwhelmed just looking at a list that is too big. If I can’t hope to accomplish what’s on my list, it makes it hard for me to get any of it done. There’s just no motivation there.
The same thing can be said when you try and do too much at once with managing your money. The more you do, the less energy you have to actually do any of it.
In order to get around this, there are several things you can do.
First, automate everything you can. Automation in your finances takes the “work” out of it. Automating your bills means you never have to worry about missing a payment. Saving automatically through automated transfers means you never have to worry about figuring out how much to put aside. Automation is so important that I consider it one of four must-haves for every budget.
Another thing you can do is make sure you aren’t taking on too many goals at once. As I mentioned, I get really burnt out when I have too many things to do. I have to break up my to-do lists into smaller lists. I’ll have an overall list of things I want to get done, and then I’ll create a second list of things I am going to get done today.
Goal setting is a great way to manage your money intentionally, but to avoid burnout, try not to set too many goals at once. In fact, it may be best to focus on one specific goal at a time.
For example, if you’re trying to bolster your investments and pay off your debt at the same time, both areas will take a longer time to ramp up. It’d be better to focus on one of those goals, such as paying off debt, and then
In this situation, what I would do is contribute to a 401K to get the maximum company match and then use the rest of my extra money to pay off debt. This is especially good if you have high-interest debt. It’s a much better investment to pay off a credit card charging you 18% interest than it is to invest in the stock market to get 4%-8%.
Then, after the debt is paid off, I would maximize my 401K contributions.
Avoid focusing on too many things at once and you’ll avoid burning out.
If you are feeling burnt out, try out the three tips above and see if that works for you. Aligning your budget with your values makes it a lot easier to maintain. Not viewing your budget as a restriction will help you to stay focused on your goals and the outcome you’re trying to achieve. Lastly, not doing too many things at once will help you to stay focused and not get overwhelmed by everything you want to do.
Burnout out on your budget doesn’t help anyone. When you’re burnt out on anything, it’s hard to stay engaged. Avoiding burnout will help you stick with managing your money well for the long haul.
Do any of these things speak to you? Have you ever been burnt out on budgeting? What did you do to remedy the situation?
Join the conversation in the comments!