There are a lot of personal finance resources out there that take the approach of trying to scare you into saving by telling you how bad things will be otherwise. Those resources aren’t wrong; having a good financial strategy is crucial, and if you don’t properly prepare yourself financially, you won’t be able to achieve your big savings goals in the future.
I have a few “hard truth” blog posts bookmarked and I go back to them when I need that kick to get myself back into gear. Sometimes though, you need a push from the other direction – one that makes you picture yourself in the car of your dreams (that you paid for in cash) or on your baller vacation (that you paid for with your savings account dedicated to travel). I love those posts that make you go, “F*@% yeah, I’ma save some money today.”
So, on that note, here are 5 ways to keep yourself motivated and keep yourself happy while you work to meet those savings goals:
1. Think of Your Future Self
You should never worry about pleasing anyone else when it comes to money, but there is one person that should always be on your mind: Future You. Dollars that you sock away now are going to benefit you in the future, whether that’s tomorrow, a year from now, or in 30 years when you want to retire.
You should always be good to Future You – he or she is going places, and could use your help. How’s she going to cure cancer if she’s distracted with student loans? How’s he going to drive that sportscar down the coast in his retirement if he can’t afford the car.. or the retirement?
You’re a dependable person, right? Future You’s counting on it. Don’t let him or her down. When you really want to buy that super cute sundress, think “is this something future-me is going to be happy with, or would she rather that money went somewhere else?” If it’s not a purchase that will be beneficial later on, then Retired-You, or Vacation-You, or Car-Broke-Down-You gets some more dollars in her account.
2. Let It Go
Maybe you just had a really bad day, and you needed that extra drink at happy hour or those gorgeous shoes that make you feel like you’re having a Beyoncé moment with every step. Sometimes, you’re going to mess up, but you’ve gotta forgive yourself for it. Learn from it, but forgive yourself. Beating yourself up and feeling bad about it is only going to result in less hustle, because nobody feels motivated when they’re feeling down (even Queen Bey, I’m sure). Shrug it off, and hustle harder tomorrow.
3. Put Aside Whatever You Can
Every dollar counts. If you can’t meet that savings goal this month, do the best you can. So you bought the Beyoncé-shoes and you’re short on your goal. It happened. It’s done. Maybe the next day you skip your morning coffee – that’s a couple bucks towards your goal that you didn’t have yesterday. Yay you! You may not have $10,000 invested by 25, but maybe you have $5,000. Maybe $2,000. Maybe you’re 35 and you’re starting today for the first time – congratulations, that first $1,000 is going to feel good. Saving takes work, sacrifice and discipline, but Future You is going to be so grateful for every single dollar.
4. Brag About It
You paid off your student loan? Put an extra $100 into savings? Met your TFSA maximum? You go Glen Coco. Tell everybody. You earned it. That’s an awesome accomplishment and you should be proud. This works two-fold: you get to share your awesomeness with people and get the kudos you deserve, and you also have accountability. You earned a reputation for being that person that is awesome at saving money, you can’t give up now! Bonus: other people will get sick of you telling them about your huge retirement account, so they’ll start building up their own – look at you go, you influencer, you.
5. Hit the Blogs
I have so many favorite bloggers who never fail to kickstart my motivation. Reading their posts is always inspirational, either because I learn a new tip or strategy that I want to try out right away, or because it’s a reality check that makes me rethink that next purchase. If you need that extra push to reach your savings goals, here are some of my favorite motivational posts from some of my favorite bloggers:
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- Pay Your F#$%ing Debt by Money After Graduation
- This one hurts, but it hurts so good. Bridget’s the reason I woke up and started paying attention to my money.
- I Did It! I am Student Debt Free! by Nourished Net-Worth.
- Hannah paid off $50,000 in 16 months. You can’t read her posts and not want to kill it as hard as she did. Seriously, I dare you to try.
- What Do You Really Own? by Mixed Up Money
- When you need motivation to wait and save up, rather than taking out a loan to pay for something. This post will make you laugh at the idea of people who buy expensive things on credit, and not want to be someone who buys expensive things on credit.
- Money is Evil, You’re a Greedy Cow and Other Money Lies You’ve Been Told by The Freedom From Money
- What’s wrong with wanting to be rich? This post makes me feel money-motivated, and Girl Power-y all at once.
We all sometimes need a reality check to get off the couch and make it rain dolla bills, but the fact that you’re reading a personal finance blog already means you’ve taken a step in the right direction. You work hard, you’ve got your eye on a goal, and you got this.