Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reach Your Retirement Goals Faster Playing The Budget Game!

Throughout our entire lives, we dream of financial freedom. We think of what it will be like to retire and finally be able to do the things that we enjoy full time! So, we work and work and save and save hoping to reach a retirement goal that we set years back. But, wouldn't it be great to reach those goals faster than you thought simply by getting competitive with yourself? Well, you can!

Recently, I got bored with budgeting. I mean, really bored! So much so that I stopped keeping track all together. Oh boy, was that a great idea or what? A couple of months flew by as they always do and, I started to realize, I wasn't saving any money or making much of a dent in the debt I was working so hard to pay off! It should come as no surprise that I quickly updated my budget and took a look at my bank statement to see where all the money was going. Small purchases were killing my retirement plan because they weren't being made in moderation with the help of a budget.

Now, there is no one on this planet that doesn't like budgeting as much as me so, if it is one of your least favorite things to do, join the club! What came as a shock to me is, there are overwhelming amounts of people out there that feel the same way I do about budgeting. I found that out as I sifted through several different personal finance websites around the web. 

After reading up on ways to make the process fun, I came to the conclusion that none of the approaches I'd found would work for me. Why? Well, they were all great but, I'm a competitive person! I like to play games, keep score and of course, WIN! So, I figured, why not try and turn my budget into a game. In the game, every dollar would signify a point and there would be set barriers to break. 

I started by cleaning up my budget spreadsheet. Once I did, I totaled up my debt goals and savings goals. I had to do at least this much to get a positive score. For every dollar I spent that went over my goals for that month, I would give myself a point. Month by month, I started to track my progress. 

In the first month, I ended up with a negative score which, well, frustrated me. But, I didn't reach my goals and now, I was being told I didn't by a score board! So, I did some tweaking. I looked at where my money was going and made some changes to how it was being spent. The next month, I scored 11 points! Which was not much considering I had a 219 point dent to cover from the month before.

So, I worked and worked, tweaking little spending habits and eventually, I got the high score of 376 points! I'm still working to beat it but, what that means is $376 more than my goals made it to pay off my debts or pad my savings a bit in one month! That's great considering I have pretty aggressive goals! That being said, I'm going to challenge you to start playing the budget game. All the instructions for how to set up your score board and play the budget game are available in my recent article, How To Make Budgeting More Fun

About The Author – Joshua Rodriguez
This article was written by Joshua Rodriguez, proud owner and founder of CNA Finance and avid personal finance journalist. Join the conversation with Joshua on Google+!

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