Put More Fun in Your Budget

woman in field

If you have trouble budgeting—and thousands of our readers have asked for help on this front—a solution may be at hand.

A key ingredient in self-control, new research shows, is the f-word:


What's puzzling is that you probably want to stick to your budget. The trouble is that wanting isn't enough to sustain the self-control required to change your spending and saving.

If you view the need for self-regulation—in our case around budgeting—as an onerous task, you're going to perceive it as an obligation. And sustaining self-control is going to be much harder, according to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

But if you frame your budgeting efforts as something you're doing for fun, you may have more success, the study shows.

If you refocus on what you like about your budget, that it may present new opportunities to have fun—i.e. reaching an important goal; budgeting with a friend—you're more likely to find the self-control necessary to make new spending and saving habits stick.

Play around. What would bring out the fun in your budget?