(Adapted from “Budget 101” at www.about.com)
Creating a budget isn’t incredibly difficult, but where most people fail is trying to maintain the budget. It usually starts with good intentions, but just like dieting, it doesn’t take much to derail your entire plan. Here are three steps to follow if you want to create and maintain a successful budget.
1. Have a Positive Attitude
Without a doubt, you need to go into the budgeting process with a positive attitude. If you think of budgeting as a chore or that you are sacrificing something, you’ll find it is extremely difficult to keep at it. Don’t think of the negative aspects of a budget, but think about the rewards. If you stick to your budget, what will you achieve? You may get out of debt sooner, you might be able to offer raises to your staff, or yourself. Whatever your financial goals are, you need to focus on the budget as a tool to reach these goals.
2. Stay Motivated
Building on the positive attitude, you need to maintain motivation for yourself and your staff. Consider rewarding your staff for meeting budget goals, or even increasing your goals. You need to find something that will push you to go the extra mile.
3. Keep Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest budget killers is unrealistic expectations. If you set your sights too high, you only become discouraged when you fail to reach them. While it is admirable to try and accomplish great things, you need to set goals that are challenging, yet realistic. One way to do this is to start fairly small with short time frames. If you create smaller bite-sized goals over the coming months, you can see how likely you are to accomplish them, then, build upon those goals to set your sights a little higher. This is not only a great way to stay motivated, but it also helps keep your goals manageable.