Lets face it, saving money is hard work.
Creating a budget takes time. You need to go through all of your bills, track your expenses and determine where you can cut back. This is not easy.
If you want to save on groceries you have to sit down each week and create a meal plan. Not only that, but you need to look at the grocery sales for the week. Then perhaps you will have to shop at a few different stores to get the best savings. Don’t even get me started on the amount of time cutting coupons takes.
Saving money often involves cutting household expenses like cable, phone and shopping around for car insurance. It requires you to be more creative with your time and resources.
All of this takes time, yet we continue to make a new resolutions to change our money habits. Sure, we start out okay and then we get busy, the kids game goes late, we forgot to take food out of the freezer for dinner, we forgot to make a meal plan for the week and we find ourselves running through the drive thru.
Does any of this sound familiar? I know I did this over and over again.
So what changed? How did I stop this cycle and more importantly, how can you change this cycle?
Know Your Why
It is really very simple. You need to know the “Why”.
What I mean is that, you must know why you have the desire to save money. Ask your self the question, Why do I want to save money?
The answer is not always as easy as we think. But, the answer to this question will give you a concrete goal and a very specific purpose for changing your spending habits.
For years I knew I was not careful with money, I would resolve to be better, but I would fall into the same trap of unnecessary spending time and time again. Once I had a concrete goal, that all began to change.
I knew I wanted to be home with my kiddos and the only way that was going to happen was to change the way we were spending money. Once I made that my goal the rest started to fall in place.
Suddenly I wanted to read all I could about ways to save money. Taking the extra time to make dinner each night, to learn to make my own cleaners and to stay out of the stores brought me closer to reaching my goal. But without that goal it wasn’t happening.
No longer was I saving money because it was something I was suppose to do, but because it meant hope for achieving what I really wanted.
So do you know your why? Is it to spend more time with your family, to live debt free, to take a great vacation? Having a clear and specific “why”, that consists of something truly important to you, is essential to doing the hard work of finding ways to save money.
Ask yourself why do I want to save money.
Visualize Your Why
Once you know your “why”, keep that goal in front of you. Spend some time actually visualizing your life once you’ve succeeded at that goal. How will achieving this goal change your life?
When your efforts to say money gets tough, and it will, it is so important to have a clear visual picture in your mind of your “why”. You want to clearly see the wonderful benefits your are going to receive from achieving this goal. How is your life going to look different and be better.
Not only do you want to visualize the benefits from achieving this goal in your mind, you also want to actually see physical reminders of your why. At a minimum, write your “why” down and place it where you will see it every day.
But, go a step further and find some photographs that represent your “why”. Scroll the internet or thumb through some magazines and clip the photo’s of your ideal vacation or somethings that represents that debt free journey. Whatever you can find to represent your “why” should be hung up somewhere you will see often.
Use it to motivate you.
Apply Your Savings To Your Goal
Now that you know your “why” and have a clear picture of how your life is going to be fantastically awesome, start applying all your savings to seeing that goal become a reality.
Every time you find some money savings deal, take the money you saved and apply it to your goal right away.
For instance, you have $15,000 in student loan debt you want to pay off. You are currently paying it off at the rate of $135.00 a month. This week you tried out 2 new recipes that allowed you to use up all of your left over chicken. Now, you don’t need to purchase chicken this week. That’s an extra $10 you can apply to your savings goal.
Maybe you usually buy your lunch, but this week you made your lunch every day and saved $40.00. You would take that savings and apply it to your savings account.
These same principals apply no matter the goal. If you want to take a nice family vacation this summer, or you want to pay cash for Christmas this year, maybe you need a new car, or some new appliance. What ever your “why” is take that money you saved and apply it straight to your goal.
Don’t wait, set that money aside right away!
As you watch that debt reduce or the savings grow, you will be so encouraged, that saving money will begin to be fun. You will eagerly look for new and challenging ways to save. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to changing your money spending habits and seeing your hard work at saving money pay off.
So I want to challenge you, if you would like to change your money spending habits, determine why, set a goal that you will only be able to achieve by saving money and then begin applying those savings immediately.
I would love to hear what your goal is, leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail.
In the mean time live simply, live fully and make today your favorite day!