6 Tips to Keep You Motivated
I’ll let you in a secret. It’s OK to feel frustrated by your budget! I’ve found it to be a natural part of the process of creating great financial habits. Sticking with our goals amidst extreme frustration is one of the reasons we’ve been so successful since we started this crazy journey four years ago! I want to give you some tips that worked for us to stay motivated and hit our financial goals in stride!
Everyone Needs Motivation From Time to Time
We all get in a rut sometimes, but the key is not to live there. There are so many ups and downs in budgeting and planning for an incredible financial future. It’s normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even annoyed at needing to stay disciplined. But the good news is it’s only temporary.
One bit of advice I’ve heard over and over is to never make a big decision when you’re in a frustrated low point. I’ve found that waiting until the emotions pass and I’m thinking more rationally helps me avoid making impulsive decisions or breaking the budget. Things do get better.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
It’s really easy to play the comparison game. We do this almost every week at the grocery store. We recently bumped our grocery budget up to $75, and have a strict game plan to stay under budget. When we walk through the aisles with our list and pretty healthy food, we get MAJOR cart envy. I long for the giant boxes of cereal and frozen pizzas I see in everyone else’s cart!
I know it’s a simple example, but if we’re not careful, we find ourselves longing for the Jones’s lifestyle and spending habits. The truth is, it’s impossible to know another family’s financial situation, so it’s fruitless to compare. It will only lead to more frustration and temptation to stray from your plans! Staying true to your goals is the only comparison you need to make.
Talk About Your Goals With Your Partner, A Lot
All great success stories start with a goal. Rudy wanted to play football for Notre Dame. Frodo and Sam wanted to destroy the Ring and get back to the Shire. Their clear cut goals pushed them on in tough times, it gave them hope. Without clear cut goals, it’s a lot easier to stray from your budget and get into bad spending habits.
A great tip to fully live out goals is to talk about them a lot! Jenna and I are constantly talking about money and our plans with it. Since paying off our student loans in May, we are working hard to build six months of expenses in our savings. We’re also saving up for vacations, car upgrades, and stashing money away for home improvement projects down the road.
Each month we talk about our progress on each goal, and stay updated on how much money we have in each account. When we were paying off our student loans, we used our Debt Log so we always knew our remaining balances. Whatever goals you’re pursuing, I encourage you to talk about them with your partner, or anyone who’ll listen, haha!
Related Post: Using a Debt Log and Debt Snowball to Conquer Your Debt
Write Down Goals Where They Are Always Visible
Adding on to talking about goals, it’s so motivating to write down financial goals. Then put them where they are easily visible. My brother and sister in law keep their goals posted on the fridge. When we visited them last summer, we saw their spending goals, food and diet goals, and their student loan pay off date. I was immediately drawn to how simple and straightforward it was.
I’ve heard of people putting a list of goals on their bathroom mirror, the fridge, or even creating a dream board. Keeping goals visible is a great reminder of why we do what we do. It helps justify the extra hours you put into your 2nd job or side hustle. It make easier to stick to the plan and stay motivated when your goals are constantly within sight.
One trick we have is to put them right with our budget spreadsheet. Every time I look at the budget, I can see our goals.
Put a Big Giant Thermometer on the Fridge
Yep, it might sound corny, but it works! Tracking a money goal like paying off student loans or a car loan is so much more fun with a giant thermometer! It’s so fun to visually see progress and color in part of the thermometer every month. Daily motivators are awesome for staying on track in times of frustration. Paying off loans is easier when it feels fun!
Celebrate All the Small Victories to Keep Frustration at Bay
It’s easy for frustration to sneak in if there’s nothing to celebrate. On the flip side, finding moments to celebrate is SOOO motivating! All accomplishments are worth celebrating, no matter how small. It’s a sure fire way to create momentum in a low spot, or to keep the momentum rolling strong if everything is going great!
If you don’t know what to celebrate, consider some of these:
- Paying off a student loan
- Saving up to pay cash for a car
- Paying off your house
- Paying off your car
- Opening a retirement account
- Achieving a monthly spending or saving goal
- Getting a job promotion or pay raise
- Sticking to your budget for a month
There are loads more moments to celebrate, but this is a place to start!
The celebration doesn’t need to be extravagant though, especially if you’re trying to be frugal and save money. A cheap bottle of champagne is always a good option! Maybe it’s a Caribou Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of your homemade brew, I mean it is fall after all 🙂 The important part is to acknowledge the accomplishment.
Get Involved in a Budgeting Community of Support
I believe we are meant to live in community. A trademark of any great community is the support it provides. Frustration is bound to happen in your financial journey, but don’t let it deter you from the awesome things you’re trying to accomplish! When you’re feeling down and out, talk with your partner, but also let your community know what you’re going through.
A great community helps you get through tough times. We’ve gotten so much love and support from our friends through the successes, but also when things sucked. We leaned on them and they prayed for us when we didn’t have the energy to do it ourselves.
Also, when your community has similar goals as you, it really helps keep you moving forward. We have friends and a few family members who have the same money goals and philosophy as we do. They wanted to get out of debt just as badly, and it was great sharing our successes along the way. We also shared our struggles. Going through those moments together brought us so much closer, and gave us hope to keep working hard.
A great resource is Facebook Groups. I’m part of a couple different Facebook Groups who share money habits, success stories, and give practical advice for improving your finances. A great one is Bobby Hoyt’s Millennial Money Man Community.
Self Discipline Leads to New, Life Changing Habits
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and neither do amazing financial success stories. But small, consistent steps DO lead to true change. If you start making coffee at home every day instead of buying a Starbucks Latte, you won’t notice a big difference right away. I mean, it’s only $5.
But, every day you say “no” to Starbucks, you increase your self discipline. Then over time, it’s easy to say “no” to all kinds of things that don’t align with your budgeting goals. In a sense, you’ve created your own budgeting super powers, at least that’s how I like to think about it, haha. You’ve built up an immunity to impulse shopping and enhanced your ability to reach your goals! Now all that’s left is to choose your superhero name!
Wrapping It Up
Frustration is normal. It’s just part of the process of creating really great money habits and achieving your money goals. When you get frustrated, don’t give up! Find useful tools to help you stay focused and motivated! You’ve got this!
Let Me Know in the Comments
What do you think? How do you stay motivated when frustration strikes? What money goals are you excited about?