There are two, very common, hurdles people face when attempting to budget. Unfortunately, these hurdles often go unacknowledged, setting a lot of people up for failure, almost before they even get started.
Quite simply, there are two hurdles or speed bumps people encounter with the process: The first challenge is the not-so-simple task of getting started. Unlike starting a diet (which is difficult enough), budgeting requires a lot of work and planning up front. This heavy lifting phase requires a lot of time and a concerted effort to track spending, and categorize those expenditures. Done properly, it can be a prolonged exercise.
The second, predictable challenge comes four to six months down the line, when boredom sets in, or when the excitement about initial, early success begins to wear thin.
This creeping discouragement (boredom, malaise, or even rebellion) can manifest itself in a few ways: One person might start to slack off in their effort to document expenditures. Procrastination kicks in. Others will overspend in certain categories. Avoidance of the subject altogether is another big sign that plans are off (or on their way off) the rails.
How can a Personal Financial Trainer help?
Much like the work you do with a personal fitness trainer, a Personal Financial Trainer can help you stay on track to meet your goals. We help you set up budgets initially, we keep you accountable, and we’re trained to help all of our clients get past these specific challenges, and others, that can slow or stop progress altogether.
Avoiding the issue won’t make it go away – the same problems will continue to persist, causing discomfort, pain, worry and frustration.
To past the first difficulty – that is, the challenge of getting a proper budget set up in the first place, get help from a trained professional, and be prepared for the initial, heavy lifting needed at the outset. Only by doing this work at the start, will you avoid wasting your time and a considerable amount of effort in the future.
As for the second challenge, four to six months down the line when the shine has worn off, and adhering to a budget seems like more work than it’s worth, (get help from a professional!) plan for that inevitability today, before you even start creating your budget, by writing yourself a letter.
Describe and write down how your money situation is making you feel. Are you anxious? Overwhelmed? Depression and guilt are typical feelings people describe as well. When you do inevitably reach that second roadblock, the one where things are not as exciting as they once were, pull that letter out and read it, not just to yourself, but to your spouse or partner as well. Ignoring those feelings of malaise, or keeping them to yourself, simply allows them to take over and sabotage your well-laid plans.