9 Tips to get creative with finance

Money management need not be tedious or a buzzkill. Here are some uber-cool ways to get a grip over your finances

9 Tips to get creative with finance

We all know that we have to be responsible with money and be on top of our personal finances if we wish to achieve the savings goals we have set for our future selves. However, not everyone enjoys the process. While some find it a chore, others end up feeling miserable – as if a sword were hanging over their head. 

Financial planning doesn’t have to be all about numbers and penny pinching. The idea is to find a balance between building discipline to achieve your long-term financial goals, as well as having the freedom to spend and enjoy your money as you wish.

Here are some money management tips and creative tricks to make your financial life a lot smoother.

1. Create a vision board

Make list of different financial goals you may want to achieve and add representative photos for reference. For example, put up an image that motivates you to pursue your own business, buy a car, invest in your dream home, or save for that vacation. Visual reminders work very well to motivate and keep oneself on track for any goal-based activity. Use your art and craft skills to make a vibrant, visual treat that peps you up every time you look at it.

2. Set SMART goals

Once you have your goals charted out, you need to draft a financial budget, understand your income and expenses, and accordingly set a timeline for different goals and prioritise them. Each goal should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Trackable). As you see progress, you will feel encouraged to keep up the good work. If you are close to achieving a goal, find out ways to fast-track the goal and tick it off your list.

Related: Why it’s important to question your financial assumptions? [Premium]

3. Celebrate milestones

Every time you achieve a goal – however big or small – reward yourself for a job well done. For example, if you cut down on your shopping to pay off all your credit card dues, allow yourself to buy that one piece of clothing, accessory, or gadget you really want. Of course, buy it within reasonable means so as not to undo the hard work.

4. Use budgeting tools

Budgeting and tracking need not be tedious. There are various apps for your smartphone that are easy to use and allow you to dynamically customise your budget based on your goals. They even offer money-saving tips and discount deals. There are many apps such as Goodbudget, Mint, Monefy, etc. that help you stay on top of your budget, bills, and finances. What’s great is that these apps track your financial footprint in real time and can help you make course corrections if required. 

Related: How goal-setting helps plan your finances

5. Get a finance buddy

As with the concept of a gym buddy, why not have a finance buddy? The buddy can be a partner/spouse, sibling, or friend. It’s better if you have someone who shares similar goals or is within a similar income range. You can share financial knowledge, motivate each other, compete on savings, compare investments, or just talk about your financial situation to reduce stress. Having someone else by your side can make financial tasks more fun.

6. Gamify savings

Make your budgeting process a lot more fun with gamified apps. Fortune City, for example, is a game within a budgeting app. You can build your virtual city and make upgrades, thanks to rewards from using the app on a daily basis. Similarly, apps like Qapital offer features such as IFTTT (if this then that). IFTTT allows you to make whimsical rules that can be linked to other apps and data. For example, you can create fun rules such as ‘every time India wins a cricket match, save Rs 1000’.

7. Supercharge your piggy bank

If saving large amounts in a single tranche seems difficult, you could even put your spare change to good use. Apps such as Sqrrl, Spenny, Acorns, etc. round off purchases you make via digital channels/cards and deploy the amount towards different investment buckets. For example, say you ordered a pizza for Rs 373. This is rounded up to Rs 400 and the balance of Rs 27 goes towards a liquid fund that can later be allocated to towards an investment goal. This way, every time you spend, you save as well. Before you know it, you have a substantial chunk of money compounding in a liquid fund, ripe to be invested.

8. Enhance your knowledge

The more you understand money management, the better your chances of enjoying the process. There are scores of personal finance books that can help you enhance your financial knowledge in a simplified and guided manner. In your free time, take it up as light reading. If reading is not your thing, you can check out quizzes, trivia, and financial games on apps and websites such as Stax, Financial Football, Money Magic, Hit the Road, and many more, that help you learn in a fun and interactive way.

Related: 6 Movies that should be on every finance professional’s watch list 

9. Have the right attitude

Finally, keep a positive frame of mind as you start. It will take some time before results start to show, so be ready to stick it out. That is how mountains are scaled – one step at a time. Also, prioritising savings and investments does not mean you have to deprive yourself of any pleasures. If you love your barista-made coffee, go ahead and enjoy a cuppa, but find a way to balance that expense somewhere else.

Remember, running an overly tight budget can be counterproductive. In fact, giving yourself some room to play will make it easier to stick with the plan and help you reach your financial milestones faster! Finance isn't rocket science. Here's how you can keep up. 

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