Can I be real for a second?
Paying off your debt and saving in your Emergency Fund is not easy. At first, you are motivated – you set budget, you set yourself some goals, and you are crackin’ away at your mountain of bills.
You may cut up the cards, forego the dinners out with family and friends, and opt for family movie night in lieu of going to the movies with popcorn and expensive soda/candy.
You are motivated. You are unstoppable!
But then time progresses, and you start to settle back into your old ways – .. you feel like you are stretched – you have the urge to eat out just one time. One time turns into another time. Then before you know it, taking your own lunch to work is a thing of the past.
You are now back in the same groove you were before you started to cut back. Making your own lunch for work is hard .. it’s effort. It’s convenient at times. Sometimes you really just want a cheeseburger.
Before you know it, you feel yourself slipping back into your old, bad habits. You can’t seem to see the small wins you have made up until this point… you feel stretched. The road has been long and hard, and you just want to take a break… you might even feel like you are running on fumes.
If you don’t make some changes in your actions and thought process, you might resort to quitting altogether.
But before you do that, you might want to take a few steps to help yourself get back on track so you can finish out what you worked so hard on establishing up until this point.
Get Inspired and Stay Inspired
It’s incredibly important to find inspiration – not just on an occasional basis, but constant. You have to live in inspiration – your head has to be in the right place all the time, even in the most difficult and discouraging days.
There are many people that are traveling down the same road as you – paying off mountains of bills, trying to make their paycheck stretch, and making the sacrifices they need to make now so help guarantee their success as they progress forward.
If you haven’t yet done so, find an encouraging blog – or, online articles you can read daily to keep you inspired. Listen to podcasts, and radio shows – even more, hop on YouTube and check out some of the radio shows and podcasts from popular gurus like Dave Ramsey, or Chris Hogan. Michael Hyatt is a great source of inspiration as well.
Keep your Vision in Front of You
You can’t get to where you want to go unless you have a vision of where you are going. If that means writing down in a journal or making a vision board, then create that tangible reminder of your goal.
You want to see that goal every day – if it means pasting it on the mirror, on your fridge, or somewhere in your car – so that every time you reach for milk, your keys, or your shaving cream and razor, you are reminded of your commitment to going somewhere better than where you are right now at this point in time.
Create Small Milestones with Rewards
If you can set small goals, to be achieved in simple steps, then those milestones will help you reach the next level in your mission to get better… if your first milestone is to set $1,000 for your Emergency Fund, then that’s GREAT. SET that goal, and celebrate with your spouse when you reach that milestone.
The milestone may not mean hopping on a plane and heading to the Caribbean after you set up your Emergency Fund but… it is deserving of an inexpensive night out for the two of you if a relative or family member can watch your children. You need those small milestones to celebrate your accomplishment and reward yourself for the sacrifices you have made up until that point.
Spending $30 on dinner out with your spouse is an inexpensive way to do that – provided it’s not a $30 habit you do every day, then it won’t be as damaging on your finances.
What Helps Me the Most
I find myself easier motivated than my husband — he loses focus so much more easily than I do. but what helps me the most is immersing myself in podcasts – radio shows, YouTube. Every available minute of the day is occupied by something that will help influence and reinforce my thinking.
As I work at home, I listen to podcasts. As I clean my home, I listen to podcasts – and as I sit in the carpool waiting to pick up children, YouTube is just a push of a button – actually, an app. It couldn’t be more easy. As I drive around town, I’m thankful I can listen to positive reinforcement on the radio.
Reading helps too – if you can find the time to sit down for a period of time without interruption (I find that to be too challenging at this point in my life.)
All the things in the world are great – eating out, new cars, and trips – but it’s always great to remind yourself of the financial journey you are on. A little sacrifice for a few years will allow you to have far greater power later on – and that power, is priceless.