I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator. I was that kid in college staying up late the night before a big paper was due.
I was no different when it came to money. I spend years procrastinating on getting my finances in order. I didn’t budget, I didn’t have financial goals, and I didn’t make anything more than the minimum monthly payments on all of my debts.
When I finally stopped making excuses and started taking action, my situation changed dramatically. Not only did I finally take the time to learn what I didn’t already know about money, but I saw my savings grow and my debt shrink.
In this post, I’m sharing seven tips to help to stop procrastinating on your finances and finally start making money moves.
Start before you’re ready
One of the most important rules I have for my biggest goals is to take messy action.
Listen, you’re never going to feel ready to start getting your finances in order. And if you decide to wait until you make more money to start budgeting, you won’t know how to budget when you eventually make more money.
If you say you’ll start setting financial goals when you have money in savings, you may never have more money in savings.
It’s in those early days that you don’t feel ready that you can make the biggest difference in your finances.
So next time you find yourself putting off financial tasks because you don’t feel quite ready, just remember: Take messy action.
Choose one thing to focus on at a time
If you’ve never taken steps to get your finances in order, it can feel overwhelming to think about all the things you’ll have to tackle. Budgeting, saving, paying off debt, investing, etc. It’s definitely enough to make your head spin when you’re brand new.
If you keep putting off getting started because you’re overwhelmed with everything there is to do, choose just one thing to focus on at a time.
It might seem counterproductive, and you’ll probably feel like you should be doing more. But making moves in just one area of your finances is far better than taking no action at all.
If you’re just getting started on your finances, begin by tracking your income and spending. Once you know how much you’re making and where your money is going, you can look for overspending.
And when you start identifying that wiggle room in your budget, you can start diving into saving and increasing your debt payments.
Set specific financial goals
It’s hard to get motivated about anything when you’re not really sure why you’re doing it. Money is no different. How are you supposed to stick to your new financial plan when you have no idea what your end result is?
When you have a specific financial goal, and you know exactly why you want it, it’s so much easier to stay motivated and stick to your financial plan, regardless of how lofty of a goal it is.
Put it on your calendar
Sometimes our procrastination is simply a result of the fact that we keep telling ourselves that we’ll sit down and come up with a financial plan…and then we forget.
Don’t be too hard on yourself — it happens to the best of us!
I’ve found that once I put something on my calendar, I’m almost certain to get to it. Even if I can’t get to it on the exact day I scheduled it for, I’m going to get it done within a day or so. I just can’t stand to have incomplete items on my to-do list!
I recommend setting time aside on your calendar each week to check in on your finances. If you’re just getting started and aren’t paying any attention to your money, schedule yourself a money date on an evening when you’ve got no other plans.
This will allow you to really get a headstart on your finances, and having it on your calendar will make sure you get it done!
The important thing is to treat this calendar event just like any other. You wouldn’t cancel on plans with your best friend, so don’t cancel on plans with yourself.
Automate as much as possible
Have you ever told yourself that you’d start putting money aside to build an emergency fund, but then you never seem to have any money left at the end of the money?
What about telling yourself you’re going to start investing but never getting around to making those transfers?
The good news is that these financial tasks, and many others, are pretty easy to stop procrastinating on. You can stop procrastinating by automating. There are plenty of tasks that you can automate, rather than giving yourself the opportunity to procrastinate.
For example, you can automatically have money transferred from your checking account to your savings account the day after you get paid. That way, you don’t give yourself a chance to spend it first.
You can also automate things like retirement contributions and bill payments.
Read More: 6 Easy Ways to Automate Your Finances
Leave room in your budget for fun
I’ve found that one of the biggest reasons people procrastinate on getting their finances in order is that they fear that a financial plan will be too restrictive. They assume they’ll have to stop shopping or eating out once they get on a budget, so they put it off.
Well, I’ve got amazing news for you. Budgets don’t have to be restrictive at all. In fact, I actually find budgeting to be even more freeing. It allows me to spend money freely on things that I love. And I never have to feel guilty about it, because I’ve budgeted for it.
If you’re procrastinating on getting your finances in order because you’re worried about how restrictive it will be, remember to leave room in your budget for things that bring you joy.
For me, those things are eating out and seeing live music. It’s probably going to look different for you, but your budget should reflect the things you love!
Taking control of your finances feels like an uphill battle when you first get started, and it’s easy to come up with reasons to procrastinate. But the sooner you start taking action, the sooner you start seeing results. I hope these tips will help you to push your procrastination aside and starting taking real action.