9 Inspiring Budgeting Quotes (and How You Can Use Them to Take Action NOW)

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My number one goal with Atypical finance is to help you improve your financial life, and I regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. Some of the links in this post may be from our partners. Read my disclaimer for more info.

I love a good inspirational quote. There is just something about them that can motivate you.

Quotes that you can apply to budgeting are no different! 

Some of the greatest minds in history gave their thoughts on money. We have the privilege of being able to learn from their thoughts and apply it to our own budgets.

But being motivated and inspired to take action is only half of the equation.

Action is the key to moving forward. You can be motivated all you want to make changes, but if you don’t take any action, you’ll stay where you are now.

Sometimes we want to take action when we’re motivated but we don’t know exactly how to take action. I can help out with that!

Here are nine personal finance quotes and how you can take action on them now.

1. Becoming rich is hard. Staying broke is hard. Choose your hard.

– Eric Worre

Becoming rich is hard. Staying broke is hard. Choose your hard.I love this quote. It really speaks to the mindset of staying broke.

If you’re in a tough spot financially, there are times when it seems too hard to climb out, even given the difficulty your current situation.

The truth is, staying broke is just as hard as becoming rich.

Think about it. Being financially strapped all the time really takes a toll on not just your finances, but also your life, your mental state, and those around you.

There is a lot of pressure on you to make it work.

It takes a lot of effort to figure out how to make ends meet month after month after month.

Apply that pressure to learning how to start a budget or improve your budget.

How to Take Action NOW

Decide TODAY if you want to continue doing things the way you have been or work toward making changes in your budget.

I pick the latter. 😉

Make the choice now to replace the hopeless feelings of staying broke with the hope of working towards improving your finances.

Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. 

Here’s the thing.

If you stay where you’re at right now, you’ll be there until you decide on change. You’ll be a slave to your finances.

If you decide to improve your financial life now, it will get easier and easier for you as you continue to make the right financial moves for you. You are in control!

Before you know it, you’ll be working hard to become financially well off while you’re comfortable and not living paycheck to paycheck.

This is ultimately a decision only you can make.

Make some moves to choose the hard work that will benefit you in the future and keep you from living paycheck to paycheck.

2. ”Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”

– Ayn Rand

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.One of the biggest money mindset hurdles I see is that money is not treated how it is.

Money is not your friend or enemy. It isn’t a status symbol (despite how the media glorifies rich people). It doesn’t automatically give you better relationships. 

Money is simply a tool. 

It can be used for whatever purpose you choose to use it for. You can use it to help others or build your relationships.

You can use it to retire early or buy things for yourself. Money can be used to buy experiences that will enhance who you are as a person.

For any goal you set for yourself, money is only a tool to help you get there.

How to Take Action NOW

When money is used only as a tool, it can be very effective. I want you to learn how to use it as a tool but I want you to learn how to use it correctly.

Unlike with a hammer or nail gun or saw, there is no “one way” to use money. If there was we’d all be budgeting the same. 

You have to budget in a way that works for you. Your budget will look different than mine and be managed differently than mine because you are different than me.

To take action on using money as a tool, learn how to use your tool (your money) effectively for you. 

Study up on different budgeting methods. Get to know yourself and your life situation. 

Then, combine what you’ve learned about different budgeting methods with what you’ve learned about yourself into one dynamite budget that will skyrocket you and your goals.

This puts you in complete control over your financial vehicle. You can drive as fast as is right for you or make any stops on your personal journey that you need to make.

And most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy the ride.

3. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.There’s no denying that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a smart man who had a strong passion and desire to see everyone treated equally. 

When you set out to improve yourself financially, you can’t always see what the end goal is. Sometimes it seems like the road is too long, or the staircase is too high.

But it’s like driving on a dark road. Your headlights only reveal so much of the road until you move forward.

In order to see more of the road, you have to move forward.

Starting is the hardest part. Deciding to start is the first step to starting. Make the decision to start now.

RELATED: 4 Steps to Reverse Engineer Your Goals and Make Them Easier to Reach

How to Take Action NOW

Take the first step. For now, don’t worry about how everything else is going to play out along your journey.

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Simply start.

Schedule that first debt snowball payment. Set up that automatic transfer into your savings account. 

Enroll in your company’s 401K plan to get a guaranteed return on your investment. Start saving for that dream vacation.

Simply start. Today.

It takes faith and courage to start, but I know you can do it.

4. ”If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”

– Edmund Burke

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.This one is quite simple on the surface. Control your money and you control your life. 

But I believe this quote goes deeper just from the use of the word “command.”

You can control a horse without commanding it where to go.

If you’re in a fenced in area and you can accurately control how fast the horse is going and keep it from bucking you off it’s back, you are controlling the horse.

Put that horse on a trail and get from point A to point B, now you’re commanding that horse.

Controlling your money means that you don’t let your money or feelings determine what you spend your money on. You don’t let it make the decisions for you—after all, it is only a tool.

You keep your money on the path or control its speed.

Commanding your wealth involves using it to get where you want to go in life. It furthers your goals and allows you to do what you want.

Sounds very similar to a great budget.

How to Take Action NOW

Command your wealth by setting goals and budgeting with intention.

The best way to budget with intention is by setting up a budget that fits who you are.

I believe that a budget is the root of all other areas of personal finance so budgeting will also help you in every other area of your finances as well.

Here are some other ways you can command your wealth:

  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck. Paycheck to paycheck living is usually a sign of not being in control of your money. However, I recognize that this isn’t always the case. What is in your control is how you react to the situation. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, whether it’s your fault or not, you have the power to get yourself out of the situation.
  • Pay off your unnecessary debt. Unnecessary debt is any debt that you didn’t need to take on to further your financial goals. This is different for everyone but it could be purchasing something you didn’t need on a credit card or financing a vacation you couldn’t afford. Click here for a downloadable guide with 14 powerful ways to pay off debt extra quick.
  • Plan for unexpected expenses. Most expenses that we think of as unexpected can be planned for. Take control of your expenses by planning for these six different “unexpected” expenses.
  • Create your own emergency fund. An emergency fund is a great way to keep control over your money. It’s like your own personal financial safety net. The key is to create an emergency fund that will fit where you are in life. There is no right amount to have—just a right amount for you.

5. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” 

– Will Rogers

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.If there was ever a terrible reason to go into debt, it’d be to try and keep up with the joneses.

You’ve got to use your money for you. Otherwise, it’s using you.

There will always be people that have more money than you. You will always know someone with a bigger house than you, a better car than you, or eating at better restaurants than you.

Do not spend money to impress these people—especially using debt.

They may even be some of your closest friends, but the thing is, your friends will like you for you. They won’t care how much money you have or what kind of car you drive.

If there isn’t a reason to impress your friends with what you spend money on, there’s even less of a reason to spend money to impress those you don’t know.

I struggled with this for a long time. I would try and look a certain way when someone I wanted to impress was walking on the other side of the sidewalk.

But what’s the point? I was probably never going to see them again. 

There is no reason to be anyone other than me—especially with my money.

How to Take Action NOW

A lot of the reasons we spend money and use debt to try and impress people is due to insecurity. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it. You are perfect the way you are.

Your situation does not make you who you are. What you spend money on doesn’t make who you are. 

If you’re not happy with where you are, then there are only two steps to start changing it.

  1. Accept where you are at. Be content with what you have and where you are in your financial life. If you are working to change it, then that’s awesome. But don’t beat yourself up over where you think you should be or where you aren’t.
  2. Recognize that where you are right now in life and in finances is just a stop on your journey. Knowing and accepting that where you are right now is temporary means that it’s ok to keep moving forward. You can be content with where you are right now while still desiring to move forward. 

That’s it. Start making real progress on your goals by starting with those two steps.

6. “The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life.” 

– Darren Hardy

The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life.Habits are a very powerful thing. Bad habits are hard to break. But that’s good news for your good habits. 

Develop good habits and they’ll be hard to break too.

How do you develop good habits? Start small!

If you want to start getting up an hour before your normal wake up time, start by waking up 5 or 10 minutes earlier all week. The next week, wake up 10-20 minutes before you normally would.

Starting small allows your mind and body to not react so harshly to the changes you’re trying to make. And it makes it easier to attain.

It’s kind of like dieting. If you cut all of the bad stuff out NOW, it’ll be really hard to maintain. Cut things out a little bit at a time and you’re introducing your body to a lifestyle, not a diet.

As the quote says, it doesn’t take much to alter the outcomes of your life. Save $25 a month for 10 years with an interest rate of 2% and you’ll have $3,348.52.

Increase that to $50 a month, just $25 more, and you’ll end up with $6,697.04 in 10 years.

Not bad for such a small change!

How to Take Action NOW

Start now but looking at a budgeting goal you’d like to achieve and seeing what small change or changes you can make to help you make that goal.

For example, you may be able to knock months off your debt bill simply by adding an extra $50 to your payment every month. Play around with it and see what happens!

One of the smallest changes you can make that can be extremely beneficial is to make things easier on yourself.

For budgeting, I use an app called You Need a Budget (YNAB).

YNAB is a great tool for budgeting and it makes things easier on me by being on my phone. My budget is literally always with me when I’m out.

I know exactly how much I have to spend on eating out or how much is in my grocery budget even when I’m not at home. 

The app also makes it easy to enter transactions on the go as well. Say goodbye to getting overwhelmed entering in your receipts to track your budget!

If I’m out with friends for dinner and they want to go out for an after-dinner cocktail, I can pop my receipt into YNAB and instantly see if I have enough money leftover for drinks.

Note: If you couldn’t tell, I love You Need a Budget and I think you will too! Sign up for YNAB through my link and you’ll get an additional 30 days free once you subscribe. This is in addition to the 34-day trial! Check it out! I love the app and use it daily.

What are some small changes you can change in your budget to make a big impact?

7. ”It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.”

– Warren Buffett

It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.Warren Buffett’s famous investment strategy is to…wait for it…invest long-term and have patience.

(crickets)

That doesn’t sound like some big secret to making money from a guy who is worth about $84 billion as of this writing.

Buffett always advocates for a long-term approach when investing and I haven’t seen him back down from that stance.

What does this show?

Exactly what the quote says. You don’t have to do crazy awesome things to get amazing results.

What does get extraordinary results is consistency. 

How to Take Action NOW

Stay consistent in what you are trying to achieve. Don’t give up just because it seems like there should be more flashing lights.

It is said that the Titanic, would have had a bigger chance of survival if it had hit the iceberg head-on. Imagine that for a moment. 

It is possible that if the Titanic hit the iceberg head-on, one of the biggest shipwrecks in history might not have ever happened.

Staying the course is your best bet for hitting your goals. If something gets in your way, just keep on keepin’ on.

A bodybuilder builds his body by consistently going to the gym, no secret formula required.

A writer writes their first book and gets a publishing deal by writing for a little bit every day.

Just because there isn’t any glamour doesn’t mean you won’t get amazing results. Stay consistent and watch where it takes you.

8. ”Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  

– Henry Ford

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.If there was such a thing as a mic drop back in the day, I think Henry Ford would have dropped the mic after that.

I mean—wow.

Do you realize how powerful your thoughts are?

You can get really far simply by changing the way you think about something. 

I’ve discovered after years of studying personal finance and helping others that our budgets are not meant to be limiting. In fact, they should be freeing.

What I didn’t expect to discover is that a lot of the limitations in our budgets come directly from how we think about both money and ourselves. 

If you’re constantly telling yourself you’ll never be able to stick to a budget, you will probably never be able to stick to a budget. 

If you always tell yourself that you’ll never be able to get this personal finance thing, you’re probably going to decide to just wing it at some point instead of pursuing it with intention.

Now, turn it around. What if you fill your mind with good thoughts so your thoughts fuel your confidence in reaching your financial goals?

How to Take Action NOW

Start giving yourself positive affirmations every day.

It can be as simple as putting a post-it note on your bathroom mirror with the phrase “you’re smart” on it.

Whatever you’re struggling with right now, financial or not, reaffirm yourself and build your confidence. 

Here are some other ways you can build your confidence with self-affirmations:

  • Set a labeled alarm on your phone. Set the alarm on your smartphone and label it what you’re trying to remind yourself. Some ideas are “You are a master budgeter” or “you are more than your debt” or even “You’re going to kick life’s butt today.” Then, set the alarm to go off when you need it to!
  • Download an affirmation app. ThinkUp is one that will let you record your self-affirmations with your own voice. Hearing your own voice telling you that you’re killing it with your budget (or whatever else) would be amazing!
  • Decorate your walls with affirmations. Buy some decals with quotes that can help you stay positive in your finances. You can also commission a company to make a customer decal for you.
  • Buy a custom or pre-printed phone case. Since we’re on our phones all the time already, why not buy a phone case with your favorite quote on it? You can also pay a company to customize the quote on your phone case.

No matter what you do to self-affirm, use it to build your confidence in your goals and your budget.

9. “Just keep swimming.”

– Dory (from Finding Nemo)

Just keep swimming.Ah, Dory. Despite a memory as small as a floppy disk, she’s a rather smart little fish.

Here’s the thing. You are going to fail in budgeting. You are going to make mistakes. That is A-OK.

But there is only one situation where it isn’t ok. Want to know what that is?

Quitting.

Never quit because of failure. Budgeting takes real work and practice.

Even with coaching from me or anyone else you probably won’t get it perfect right away.

Keep on going anyway.

You’ve got your heart set on budgeting the right way—your way. You also have your heart set on specific financial goals—goals that you deserve.

You deserve to budget in a way that will make you feel comfortable and allow you to be who you are.

So keep going after it.

How to Take Action NOW

Motivate yourself to keep going. Learn where motivation comes from and how to affect it.

One thing you can do to motivate yourself to keep swimming is to find your why.

Why do you want to build a budget that doesn’t limit you? Why do you want to pay off your debt?

Find the why behind any goal you have and remind yourself of it often.

Then, you’ll have the motivation to overcome any obstacle, climb over any wall, and weather any storm that tries to prevent you from reaching it.

Final Thoughts

I love a good quote. They are inspirational and can motivate you to take real action in your life.

But the motivation is nothing without the action. You have to do both.

Use these quotes—along with the action steps—to improve your budget today and starting living the life you were meant to live.

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Hey! I’m Tim.
I am an expert budgeter and certified Dave Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach with a passion for teaching you how to manage your money the best way for you. I’ve been around the block with money and now I live to teach others like you and me what I’ve learned. Read more about me.
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