Nothing worth doing in life is easy. I grew up with my dad preaching that to me, and I know I’m better person for it.

Although I don’t always make the right decisions when it comes to my money, I am definitely doing better now that I understand the importance of sticking to my budget and building personal savings.

People in my generation, millennials, are generalized to be lazy, entitled, and spendthrifts; and while I don’t agree with that 100 percent, I would definitely say that sticking to your budget is the most difficult personal finance concept for people my age to master. [Eds: At any age!]

What else is there to master?

These concepts included:

  • Tracking your spending (so you can see where your money is going).

  • Creating a realistic budget (to help you plan your finances).

  • Paying yourself first (so you save money every month instead of relying on the extra you may or may not have left over).

  • Sticking to your budget religiously (so you actually reach your financial goals).

None of these personal finance concepts are difficult to understand intellectually, but the bottom line is simple: To be successful, you have to spend less than you earn and save it. Putting that into practice, on the other hand, can be more difficult.

So how can millennials, and others, stick to their budgets and master that spendthrift mindset?

The first thing is to realize that it’s going to take hard work and dedication to change your behavior and spending habits. But after all, nothing worth doing in life is easy! (Thanks, Dad!)

Getting there will require that you reassess your spending and budget. You may have to make some tough cuts to ensure that you go from a negative savings rate to a surplus at the end of each month.

To begin with, if you are not already paying yourself first, you should add this into your budget so you can make sure you add something every month to your emergency fund savings account.

Doing these simple things month after month can help you begin to master some of the basic financial habits you’ll need to tackle more difficult personal finance concepts.

Do you struggle with any of the basic personal finance concepts? What are you doing to turn it around? What other personal finance concepts do you want to understand and master?