In our current 24/7, on demand, ADD culture it can be really hard to stay focused on anything for more than 5 minutes. This is can be especially true with our finances. We can work so hard to get out of debt or save money and all it takes is a month of two of not being focused to set you back where you started. To help you stay focused, below are some tips on how to stay on track with your finances.
Set attainable and specific goals
Nothing gets you discouraged and ready to throw up your hands and quit like not having attainable goals. You have to have goals that you can reach. Yes, it is good to aim for the sky but it also needs to doable. To help with setting attainable goals try making them specific. Goals such as getting out of debt, increasing your savings, or giving more are nice, but they are not specific. Goals such as becoming debt free in a year, saving 10% of your income or double the amount you gave last year are attainable, specific, and give you something to aim for.
Measure and track your progress
Tracking your progress keeps you motivated like nothing else. I love to hear stories about how people keep track of all their debt on the refrigerator and how they cross it off after they pay each debt off. I keep track of our mortgage debt on a graph and I love to see it get filled in each month after we make extra payments. Put some fun in tracking your progress and make it a family celebration when you reach one of your goals!
Everybody loves a good celebration when you reach big achievements. So to help break up the grind of long-term goals such as becoming debt free, why not celebrate when each individual debt is paid off? Paid off the student loan? Why not take the family out for a nice dinner? Paid off the car note? Why not take a Sunday evening drive in the car and stop for ice cream on the way home? By having small celebrations it will keep you focused on the big picture. But be careful, you do not want to go over board on your celebrating or you might end up back where you started in the first place.
Have the end in mind
I have discussed focusing on the “Why” and not the “What” before. If you keep reminding yourself why you are doing this and what will happen when you reach your goal, it will help you get through the sacrifices you are experiencing at the moment.
So what about you? What are some things you do to help you stay focused on the prize?