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For most people, frugality isn’t an exciting prospect. It’s a means to a better future but it can be very easy to lose sight of the end goal and abandon the positive steps you’ve been taking towards a future free from debt and financial woes. But with an effective plan in place and some discipline, it is easier than you might think to maintain motivation to achieve your financial goals.
Don’t believe me? I’ve outlined six of my most effective tips for staying on track with your fiscal objectives.
Remember What You are Working Toward
It may benefit you to jot down some of the reasons you’ve established a budget and financial objective and what accomplishing your goals will mean to you in the long run. Keep this document handy in case you need to remind yourself what it is that you are working toward. It’s easier to make smart choices and adhere to your budget when you have the big picture in mind.
If you haven’t already made a budget, check out my article on how to do so right here. (insert link)
Take it One Day at a Time
Try not to get bogged down or overwhelmed by the total amount you’re attempting to save or the monthly budget to which you are attempting to adhere. Take it day-by-day and see if that doesn’t make things a bit more manageable. Making small steps to accomplish a big goal can make it feel much easier to breathe. Constantly looking at the bottom line can be daunting. But when broken down into smaller goals, it feels much more achievable. The same principle is effective for weight loss and any number of other goal-oriented activities.
Take some time to learn about the benefits of being debt free and how much you will save in interest by paying off high interest balances. Research the advantages of starting to save for retirement at a young age. Being informed makes it much easier to stay on track and achieve your goals. When you realize how much impact the decisions you make now will have on your future, the more likely you are to stay within your budget and achieve financial freedom.
Track Your Progress
Don’t be afraid to use a visual aid. For me, there are few things more satisfying than checking items off a list. And the same applies to tracking my progress. I made a chart tracking my progress toward getting out of credit card debt and I found it so satisfying to go in and update my progress each month. Being able to actually see the fruits of your labor is very powerful. And I am pleased to report that I am now completely free of credit card debt!
Show Yourself Some Grace and Adjust Your Goal if Needed
One common pitfall is setting goals that seem realistic but don’t account for the unexpected. Don’t be afraid to adjust and retool your goals over time. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit all of your targets the first time around. People rarely do. Those that succeed are the people that keep trying until they find a financial plan that works for their lifestyle. Something realistic and structured that allows a certain margin for error. You’re not necessarily striving for perfection, as much as you are for consistency and practicality.
Don’t be Afraid to Reward Yourself on Occasion
Make sure that your financial goals and budget include a little something extra to spoil yourself from time to time. Think of it as a reward system. Every month that you come in on budget, you set aside X dollars to do something a little extravagant. This will give you a reason to stay on track and provide you with a little reward for all of your hard work. Make sure that the funds you set aside for rewarding yourself are sufficient but not excessive. You don’t want to derail your progress when rewarding yourself for making progress.